Three Palestinians were killed and 12 Israeli soldiers were hurt with a flare-up of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories in a little over 24 hours, days after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan.
The Palestinians who died clashed with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank while the Israeli soldiers were hurt in Jerusalem in what the army said was a Palestinian car-ramming attack.
An Israeli police officer and a soldier were also wounded in two shooting attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The Israeli military said a “Palestinian rammed his car” into a group of soldiers who were marching along a pavement towards the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, for an induction ceremony.
One of the soldiers was seriously hurt while the others were slightly injured.
The driver fled the scene and the car was later found abandoned near Beit Jala, a suburb of Bethlehem, where troops were searching for him, the military added.
Following this attack, Mr Netanyahu declared: “Terrorism will not defeat us. We will win.”
Hours later, a man opened fire at several Israeli police officers stationed near Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, wounding one of them, a police spokesman said.
“The terrorist himself was shot and neutralised at the scene,” he added.
Israeli media reported that the assailant died and identified him as an Israeli Arab resident of the northern Israeli city of Haifa.
Retaliatory air strikes were also conducted by Israel on militant sites the Gaza Strip after mortar rounds fell on its territory.
Palestinians have rejected the US president’s proposals, which would leave them with a truncated territory surrounded by Israel and threaded through with Jewish settlements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed them and vowed to begin annexing parts of the West Bank after March’s general election.
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that Mr Trump’s plan “caused such escalation and tension by trying to impose fake facts on the ground”.
“We have repeatedly warned that any deal that doesn’t answer the minimum of Palestinian rights and that doesn’t aim to make a just and lasting peace will definitely lead to the tension we are witnessing today,” Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
The militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, said: “The spreading resistance and clashes by our people in the West Bank and their resistance in the heart of occupied Jerusalem is an active response against the destructive Trump deal.” (Source: BBC)