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JERUSALEM: Israel began calling up police and army reservists on Saturday (Apr 8) after separate attacks killed three people, including an Italian tourist, in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank.

Despite appeals for restraint, violence has surged since Israeli police clashed with Palestinians inside Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque on Wednesday, with Israel bombarding both Gaza and Lebanon in response to rocket fire by Palestinian militants.

The unrest comes as the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, Jewish Passover, and Christian Easter coincide. It is the latest in escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence since the new government of veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power in December, a coalition with extreme right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

The Italian was killed and seven other tourists wounded when an Israeli Arab ploughed a car into pedestrians on the Tel Aviv seafront Friday evening. The car flipped over before he was shot dead, police and emergency services said.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni named the dead man as Alessandro Parini, 36.

Police identified the driver as a 45-year-old from the Arab town of Kfar Kassem in central Israel.

“The terrorist was neutralised,” a spokesman told AFP.

Three of the injured were still in hospital on Saturday as passers-by left flowers and lit candles at the scene of the attack.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella condemned in a press release a “despicable terrorist act”. The Rome public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the attack.

The UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: “There is no justification for acts of terrorism and they must be clearly condemned and rejected by all.”

Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, called the attack a “natural and legitimate response” to Israel’s “aggression” in the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Earlier Friday, two British-Israeli sisters aged 16 and 20 were killed and their mother seriously wounded when their car was fired on in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank.

The army said it had launched a manhunt.

After the Tel Aviv attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the police to “mobilise all reserve border police units” and directed the army to “mobilise additional forces”, his office said.

Police said four reserve battalions of border police would be deployed in city centres from Sunday.

The defence ministry confirmed late Saturday it had mobilised soldiers to support the police, and that it would tighten entry restrictions into Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, in particular workers.

Earlier, an Israeli military post came under fire in a drive-by shooting in the northern West Bank town of Yabad overnight Friday-Saturday, the army said.

Soldiers returned fire and hit one person in the vehicle, the army said.


Friday’s attacks came after Israel launched air strikes and an artillery bombardment before dawn in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

It was the heaviest rocket fire from Lebanon since Israel fought a 34-day war with Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in 2006, and the first time Israel has confirmed an attack on Lebanese territory since April 2022.

Israel “struck targets, including terror infrastructures, belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation in southern Lebanon”, the army said.

In Gaza, Israel’s military said it had hit two tunnels and “two weapon manufacturing sites” in response to the “security violations of Hamas”.

It said air defences had intercepted 25 rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, while five had hit Israeli territory.

Israel “will not allow the Hamas terrorist organisation to operate from within Lebanon”, it said.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which patrols the area along the border, urged restraint, noting: “Both sides have said they do not want a war.”

On Friday evening, the army said it had shot down a drone that entered Israel’s airspace from Lebanon.


On Wednesday, Israeli riot police stormed the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa mosque in a pre-dawn raid, aiming to dislodge “law-breaking youths and masked agitators” they said had barricaded themselves inside.

Ramadan coincided with the Jewish Passover holiday this year, raising tensions with the tens of thousands of Palestinians who pray at Al-Aqsa during the Muslim fasting month.

The Palestinians fear Netanyahu’s hard-right government may change longstanding rules that allow Jews to visit but not pray in the mosque compound, despite his repeated denials.

The upsurge of violence drew condemnation from the European Union and the United States.

A Qatari official said Doha was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.

Qatar – which has acted as a broker in previous understandings between Israel and Hamas – “is working to deescalate the situation on all sides,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.