Monday 18 December 2017

Pregnant woman dies in Israeli airstrike

A Palestinian protester in a mask smokes a cigarette during clashes with Israeli troops
A Palestinian protester in a mask smokes a cigarette during clashes with Israeli troops

John Induran

An Israeli airstrike has killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her two-year-old daughter in Gaza, health officials said.

It came after a Palestinian woman detonated an explosive in her car at a checkpoint in the West Bank, injuring an Israeli soldier and herself.

The attack marked the first use of explosives in the current round of violence following a series of stabbing and shooting attacks. The violence has unnerved a jittery Israel, and prompted the US to issue a fresh call for restraint by all sides.

The wave of attacks began weeks ago in Jerusalem and has since spread to the rest of Israel, while violent protests have erupted in the West Bank and along the Gaza border, where nine Palestinians were killed in clashes over the weekend.

The Gaza border has been largely calm since the month-long summer 2014 war between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the coastal territory. In response to renewed rocket fire towards Israel, the military said it carried out airstrikes in Gaza targeting Hamas weapons facilities.

Ashraf Al-Kidra, a health ministry spokesman in Gaza, said a nearby home was struck, killing 30-year-old Noor Hassan and her infant daughter. He said four others were wounded, including Ms Hassan's husband and son, in the strike in the southern Gaza strip.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Israeli police say a 31-year-old Palestinian woman set off an explosive in her vehicle that lightly wounded a police officer and critically injured herself.


On Saturday, Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem before being shot dead by police, while another two Palestinian youths were killed near the Gaza border, as a week-long bout of violence showed no signs of slowing.

Recent days have seen a series of attacks by young Palestinians wielding household items like kitchen knives, screwdrivers and even a vegetable peeler. The youths had no known links to armed groups and have seemingly targeted Israeli soldiers and civilians at random.

The violence, including an apparent revenge attack in which an Israeli stabbed and wounded four Arabs on Friday, has raised fears of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Since the latest wave of unrest began this month, eight Palestinians have been killed while carrying out attacks and 13 have been killed in clashes in the West Bank and Gaza.

Irish Independent

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