Israel bombed targets belonging to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza on Friday, amid rising tension days after Israeli police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The airstrikes were carried out by the Israeli Air Force, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They said that targets belonging to Hamas’ military wing had been hit in Gaza and Lebanon. The IDF also said it was sending additional forces to the West Bank as part of its operations. It is unclear how many people have been killed or injured in the raids, but reports suggest that several homes were destroyed in some areas.
Hamas has condemned the strikes and called them a “flagrant aggression”. This latest escalation follows days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site which is located on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound. Security forces fired rubber bullets and stun grenades during demonstrations against plans by Jewish settlers seeking to evict Palestinians from their East Jerusalem homes.
There was a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank on Friday, and Israeli officials say that the attacks were focused mainly on Palestinian targets in the area from which they believe rockets were launched into Israel. Lebanese media reports that three Israeli strikes hit an open area near Tyre, Lebanon, which damaged homes and cars and killed livestock. The Israeli military confirmed the attack, saying its jets had targeted “military sites associated with terrorist organizations.” The strikes come in response to a cluster of rockets that were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel on Thursday.
No casualties or damages have been reported as a result of the rocket fire.Meanwhile, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis continue to rise in the occupied West Bank due to ongoing clashes over territory. Palestinian sources report that at least six people were injured in recent confrontations which erupted after some settlers attempted to enter a village close to Nablus city. In addition, several homes were set alight near Hebron by Jewish extremists, while others had their property damaged by stone throwing demonstrators, prompting calls for international intervention.
Lebanon submitted a complaint to the UN Security Council denouncing Israel’s strikes in Gaza Strip as a flagrant violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty. Hamas also condemned the strikes in a statement Friday. In a separate statement, Hamas called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Gaza. The Israeli strikes targeted 10 sites in Gaza, including production sites and research and development sites.
The international community has condemned the strikes and called for a de-escalation of tensions between Israel and Gaza. The UN Security Council held an emergency session Friday to discuss the strikes, but no resolution was adopted. Arab League countries expressed their strong opposition to the Israeli attacks in a joint statement Saturday. They urged immediate action by the Security Council to prevent further escalation of violence and protect civilians in Gaza from further harm.