Israel deadly strike kills pregnant woman, two-year-old child in Gaza

Friday 09/10/2015
Inching closer to brink of third Intifada

GAZA CITY (Palestinian Territories) - Islamist movement Hamas on Sunday warned Israel against "foolishness" after an air strike in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire killed a pregnant woman and her toddler.

"This shows the occupation's desire to escalate," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. "We warn the occupation against continuing this foolishness."

Israel said it targeted two Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities after Gaza militants fired two rockets and following attempts by Palestinians to violently cross the border.

One of the rockets had hit an open field in southern Israel and the other was intercepted.

Israel's retaliatory air strikes demolished a house in the northern area of Zeitun, killing Nur Hassan, 30, and her two-year-old daughter Rahaf, Gaza medics said, and trapping three others under the ruins.

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.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the police officer noticed the woman driving suspiciously and motioned her to stop. She then chanted "God is great" and detonated a bomb.

The attack marks 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 on Saturday to issue a fresh call for restraint by all sides.

On Saturday, Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem on Saturday before being shot dead by police, while another two Palestinian youths were killed near the Gaza border fence, as a weeklong 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, complicating efforts to predict or prevent the attacks.

The violence, including an apparent revenge attack in which an Israeli stabbed and wounded four Arabs on Friday, as well as increasing protests by Israel's own Arab minority, has raised fears of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Several protests broke out over the weekend in Arab-majority towns and cities, in which masked demonstrators clashed with police forces.

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

The Red Crescent medical service says over 500 Palestinians have been wounded in violent protests in the West Bank, including about 100 from live fire.

At the start of the month, Palestinians shot two Israeli settlers to death in front of their children in the West Bank. In a separate incident, a Palestinian wielding a knife killed two Israeli men and wounded a mother and toddler in Jerusalem before being shot dead.

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