Israeli forces have clashed with Palestinian demonstrators along the Gaza border killing five of them as a rash of stabbing attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories raised fears of wider unrest.
Recent days have seen a string of attacks by young Palestinians with no known links to armed groups who have targeted Israeli soldiers and civilians at random, complicating Israeli efforts to contain the violence, linked to tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.
The latest incidents included the first apparent revenge attack by an Israeli.
Five Palestinians were killed during clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli forces along the heavily guarded Gaza border, according to the Gaza health ministry.
The border had been largely quiet following last summer’s war between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the territory.
The Israeli military said about 200 Palestinians in Gaza advanced toward the border, throwing rocks and rolling burning tyres at troops stationed there. It said that forces opened fire at the main instigators to stop their advance.
Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh applauded the stabbing attacks across Israel in a speech in Gaza, calling the surge in violence an intifada, or uprising.
The attacks were initially confined to east Jerusalem, where the holy site is located and the West Bank — both territories captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war and claimed by the Palestinians for their future state. However, over the past week, the violence has spread to Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.
In Jerusalem, a Palestinian wielding a vegetable peeler stabbed and wounded a 14-year-old Israeli before being arrested. In another attack near the entrance of Kiryat Arba, a West Bank settlement, a Palestinian was shot dead by a police officer after he attacked the officer with a knife and tried to seize his weapon, police said.
In northern Israel, a 29-year-old Arab-Israeli woman was shot and wounded while attempting to stab people at a bus station in the town of Afula, where another stabbing had taken place the day before, police said.
Video footage of the incident surfaced online, showing the woman surrounded by several members of the security forces, pointing their weapons at her and yelling. Her right arm makes downward gestures with a long shiny object that police said was a knife.
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