Israel airstrike kills pregnant woman and child, 2

An Israeli airstrike killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her two-year-old daughter in Gaza yesterday, a Gaza health official said, while in the West Bank, police said a Palestinian woman detonated an explosive in her car at a checkpoint, injuring an Israeli soldier and herself.
Women weep at the funeral of Noor Hassan and her daughter, Rahaf, in Gaza. Picture: APWomen weep at the funeral of Noor Hassan and her daughter, Rahaf, in Gaza. Picture: AP
Women weep at the funeral of Noor Hassan and her daughter, Rahaf, in Gaza. Picture: AP

This attack appeared to mark the first use of explosives in the current round of violence following a series of stabbing and shooting attacks. The violence has unnerved Israel, and prompted the United States on Saturday to issue a fresh call for restraint by all sides.

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

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The Gaza border had been largely calm since the 50-day summer 2014 war between Israel and 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 manufacturing facilities.

Ashraf Al-Kidra, a health ministry spokesman in Gaza, said a nearby home in southern Gaza was hit, killing Noor Hassan, 30, and her young daughter. He said four others were wounded, included Ms Hassan’s husband and their son.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Israeli police said a 31-year-old Palestinian woman set off an explosive in her vehicle that left her critically injured and a police officer lightly wounded. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the officer noticed the woman driving suspiciously and motioned her to stop. She chanted “God is great” before the blast.

On Saturday, Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem before being shot dead by police, while two Palestinian youths, aged 13 and 11, were killed near the Gaza border fence, as a week-long bout of violence showed no signs of slowing.

Addressing his cabinet yesterday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country was battling a “wave of terror” fuelled by “systematic, untrue incitement” by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Islamic Movement in Israel. He said he would be holding consultations to discuss sanctions against the Islamic Movement, which runs education and religious services for Arab citizens of Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said that along with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the Islamic Movement was responsible for spreading lies about Israel’s supposed intentions regarding a Jerusalem holy site sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Mr Netanyahu also claimed Arab politician Hanin Zoabi called on thousands of worshippers to ascend to the site to prevent an “Israeli plot of bloodletting of east Jerusalem residents”.