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7 Palestinians dead in West Bank amid violence

7 Palestinians dead in West Bank amid violence

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the stepped-up fighting between Israel and militant Hamas rulers (all times local):

JERUSALEM — The number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank has risen to seven.

The Israeli army says one was killed after attempting to stab a soldier. Palestinian health officials confirmed that death and said six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the occupied West Bank.

The health ministry said five were killed in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli forces in several locations, and a sixth was killed during an attempt to stab an Israeli soldier on Friday. A seventh was killed in Nablus.

The West Bank violence comes as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of tank fire and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israel said it was clearing a network of militant tunnels ahead of a possible ground invasion. The West Bank violence signals a new wave of unrest there as part of the Israel-Gaza escalation.

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PRAGUE — The Israeli flag has been flying over the seat of the Czech presidency.

A spokesman said on Friday that Czech President Milos Zeman has ordered the flag flown over the Prague Castle as “a sign of unequivocal support and solidarity” with Israel during its clash with militant Hamas leaders in Gaza.

It was Zeman’s latest statement of support for Israel during the current round of violence. He had previously stood by Israel in a letter to his Israeli counterpart, President Reuven Rivlin.

The Czech Republic has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies in the European Union.

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ISTANBUL — Hundreds of Muslims in Turkey have rallied, urging Palestinians to “continue resistance” against Israel.

They shouted support for militant Hamas leaders on Friday at a symbolic funeral prayer for Palestinians killed in the spate of violence this week between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

About 300 Muslims at the event hollered slogans in Turkish, including “Greetings to Hamas, continue resistance.” They called on Turkish soldiers to go to Gaza to help fight Israel and sang of the domed mosque in contested Jerusalem: “Al-Aqsa will be saved if blood flows in streams.”

Some also waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in Arabic.

People in Turkey have been demonstrating against Israel this week, gathering without much interference from the police despite a strict lockdown to curb COVID-19 infections.

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JERUSALEM — Israeli defense forces have fired warning shots toward a group of protesters who crossed from Lebanon as part of a rally against the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

The army said some two dozen Palestinian and Lebanese youth had gathered at the border gate separating the two countries for a protest on Friday. A few of those involved crossed the border into Israel.

The Israeli army says the group sabotaged the fence and set a fire in the area before returning to Lebanese territory.

Al-Manar TV station, owned by Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, said one Lebanese person was wounded in the incident. The report could not be immediately confirmed. The Lebanese military had no comment.

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s army says a soldier has shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to ram his car into a military post in the occupied West Bank, then got out and attempted to stab the soldier.

The incident took place on Friday north of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the death, but no other details were immediately available.

Rights groups have complained about past shootings of Palestinians by the Israeli military under questionable circumstances.

In recent years, Palestinians have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks that have killed or wounded Israeli soldiers and civilians. Military checkpoints in the West Bank are a frequent target.

The military, responding to criticism of excessive force against Palestinians, say soldiers must make split-second decisions in life-or-death situations.

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JERUSALEM — Israeli Justice Minister Benny Gantz has called on the chiefs of big social media platforms to quickly remove content from their sites that incites violence or spreads disinformation.

A spokesman for Gantz said he told executives of Facebook and Tik Tok during a Zoom meeting Thursday that the current round of violence is being “intentionally stirred through social media by extremist elements” sworn to damage Israel.

Gantz called the current round of fighting, “a moment of social emergency, and we expect your assistance.”

The spokesman said the executives expressed their commitment to act quickly and effectively to prevent incitement on their networks.

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JERUSALEM — The head of Israel’s Shin Bet says the service won’t tolerate ethnic violence “by Arabs nor by Jews” after nightly clashes this week in some of the country’s cities.

Chief Nadav Argaman said Friday that Shin Bet “will not allow violent lawbreakers to carry out terrorism on the streets of Israel.”

He spoke after consecutive nights of apparent revenge attacks by Arab and Jewish mobs in Lod, Jaffa, Haifa and elsewhere inside Israel.

Argaman said Shin Bet is working with Israeli police and Border Patrol in those mixed cities. The effort is aimed at identifying, catching and prosecuting “whoever tries to hurt Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs, until peace returns to the streets of the country.”

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BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says Germany won’t tolerate anti-Semitic demonstrations amid tensions in the Middle East.

Anti-Israel protests in several cities this week have drawn concern and condemnation, particularly a protest outside a synagogue in Gelsenkirchen. A video showed dozens of protesters waving Palestinian and Turkish flags and yelling expletives about Jews.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday that “anyone who uses such protests to scream their hatred of Jews is abusing the right to demonstrate.” He added that “our democracy will not tolerate anti-Semitic demonstrations.”

Seibert said Merkel condemns Hamas’ ongoing firing of rockets at Israel and “nothing can justify such terror.” He said the rocket attacks must stop immediately.

In neighboring Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that the Israeli flag was raised over his office on Friday as a signal of solidarity.

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DHAKA, Bangladesh — Thousands of Muslims led by activists from an Islamic political party have demonstrated in Bangladesh’s capital to denounce attacks by Israel against Palestinians.

After the end of Eid al-Fitr prayers at Dhaka’s main Baitul Mokarram Mosque Friday, activists from the Islamic Andolan Bangladesh, or Islamic Movement Bangladesh, began protesting and were joined by thousands of others.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh celebrated the key festival in a subdued manner after the government urged people to avoid large gatherings. Authorities arranged prayers in phases at the Baitul Mokarram Mosque, where devotees maintained distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Afterward, protesters crowded together outside, carrying signs reading “Boycott terrorist state Israel” and chanting “Down with Israel.”

The current eruption of violence between Israelis and Palestinians began a month ago in contested Jerusalem. The clash surged on Monday into the most severe outburst of hostilities since the 2014 Gaza war.

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinians living along Gaza’s northern and eastern borders are fleeing intense Israeli bombardment.

Families toting supplies sought refuge on Friday in temporary shelters in central Gaza City as Israeli artillery pounded northern Gaza in an attempt to destroy a vast network of militant tunnels. The assault brought the front lines closer to dense civilian areas and paved the way for a potential ground invasion.

Fleeing families arrived in pickup trucks, on donkeys and by foot at schools run by the United Nations, hauling pillows and pans, blankets and bread. Men lugged large plastic bags and women carried infants on their shoulders, cramming into classrooms.

One mother who fled to a downtown school with her children said “nothing remains for us” back home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. Her son, Othman, said he had felt the family’s house “shake up and down,” adding that “everyone was running.”

About the author

Tori Holland

After being a professional journalist for 5 years and understanding the ups and downs of health care sector all over the world, Tori shifted her focus to the digital world. Today, she works as a contributor for News Brig with a knack for covering general and health news in the best possible format.

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