| 8 December 2023, Friday |

Israel Palestinian tensions high after deadly attacks

On Friday, one Italian tourist was killed and five others were injured in a vehicle ramming in Tel Aviv, only hours after two Israeli sisters were slain in a gun incident in the occupied West Bank.

The attacks, which came after a night of cross-border bombings in Gaza and Lebanon, heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions following last week’s Israeli police raids on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa shrine.

Tensions threatened to escalate overnight as Israel replied to a barrage of missiles by striking sites associated with the Islamist party Hamas in Gaza and southern Lebanon, but the combat ceased on Friday.

However, the two attacks underlined how volatile the situation remains after successive nights of trouble that have drawn worldwide alarm and calls for calm.

In the latest attack, a car ploughed into a group on a street near a popular bike and walking path on a Tel Aviv promenade. The driver was shot dead by a nearby police officer when he tried to pull a gun, police said.

An Israeli security source identified the assailant as an Arab citizen of Israel from the town of Kafr Qassem.

Reuters video from shortly after the incident showed a white car upside down on the grass of a park. Police cordoned off the area that was brimming with emergency responders.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said the victims were all foreign tourists. Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani confirmed that an Italian had been killed and other Italians may have been among the wounded.

Earlier on Friday, two Israeli sisters, aged 20 and 16 with joint British nationality, were killed and their mother wounded in a shooting attack on their car near the Jewish settlement of Hamra in the Jordan Valley.

“Our enemies are putting us to the test again,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after visiting the site of the attack with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

As soldiers hunted for the gunman, Netanyahu ordered border police reserves and additional military forces to be mobilized to confront the wave of attacks.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attacks, saying “the targeting of innocent civilians of any nationality is unconscionable.”

  • Reuters