In a wave of communal unrest, rival Arab and Jewish mobs carried out beatings and torching cars on the streets of Israel late Wednesday.
As the conflict in Gaza with Palestinian militias escalated and the death toll reached at least 90, Israeli political leaders urged an end to the “anarchy” on the streets of mixed-ethnicity towns across the country.
Following a night of violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to restore order “with an iron fist if necessary.” “It makes no difference to me that your blood is boiling. You cannot take the law into your own hands “He stated.
According to officials on both sides, at least 83 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed as the Israeli military and the militant group Hamas continue to exchange barrages of airstrikes and rocket attacks. According to a military spokesman, Israel has prepared combat troops along the Gaza border and is in “various stages of preparing ground operations.”
“The chief of staff is inspecting those preparations and providing guidance,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said. Meanwhile, tensions and clashes that flared weeks ago in Jerusalem have spread across Israel. In Lod, near Tel Aviv, groups of Jewish and Arab residents defied a nighttime curfew and clashed on the streets, hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.
According to police, two people were shot and killed, and one Israeli Jew was stabbed. An Israeli mob dragged an Arab motorist from his car and attacked him in nearby Bat Yam, leaving him in critical condition.
The Israeli military said it thwarted a Palestinian shooting attack in the occupied West Bank, injuring two people. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the suspected gunman was killed. There were no immediate details available.
Domestic violence was at an all-time high since the Palestinian intifada began in 2000. While Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, warned against a “senseless civil war,” international experts warned that the conflict in Gaza between Israeli forces and Palestinians was on the verge of escalation.
President Joe Biden expressed his “unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians” during a phone call with Netanyahu on Wednesday, according to a White House statement.
According to a statement, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and “condemned the rocket attacks and emphasized the need to de-escalate tensions and end the current violence.” In an effort to defuse tensions, Washington dispatched a senior diplomat to the region.
The rocket attacks and airstrikes came in the aftermath of unrest in Jerusalem, which was fueled by clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers, as well as plans to evict Palestinian families from land claimed by Jewish settlers.
According to Israeli officials, Hamas, the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, fired volleys of rockets that numbered more than 1,500 by Thursday morning. According to officials, seven Israelis, including one soldier, were killed, with civilians killed in Lod, Ashkleon, and Rishon Lezion.
Incoming flights to Israel’s main international hub, Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, were diverted Thursday after rocket fire triggered emergency sirens in the country’s largest city.
The flights were rerouted to Ramon International Airport in southern Israel, more than 100 miles from Gaza. However, Hamas claimed on Thursday that it had also fired at Ramon. A number of international airlines have canceled flights. Israel has retaliated with airstrikes on Gaza, a tiny impoverished enclave surrounded by Israel and Egypt and home to 2 million Palestinians.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Israeli bombardment killed at least 83 people, including 17 children. Israel claims it has been targeting Hamas-related sites, which it and the US consider terrorist organizations, with the goal of minimizing civilian casualties. According to the group’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, at least one top Hamas commander was among the dead.