Jerusalem – A Palestinian teenager was shot dead in the West Bank and four Israelis were wounded near a kibbutz Sunday as violence mounted following a Gaza air strike that killed a pregnant woman and toddler.
Israeli forces shot dead the teenager, identified by the Palestinian health ministry as Ahmad Sharake, 13, during clashes near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Medics said dozens of Palestinians were shot and wounded in other clashes across the West Bank.
Within hours of Sharake’s killing, four Jews were attacked near Gan Shmuel kibbutz in northern Israel by an Arab Israeli who rammed them with his car and then lunged at them.
The Israeli army revealed that two soldiers were hit by the car, with one of them seriously injured, and two civilians were stabbed.
And with unrest threatening to spiral into a full-scale intifada, or uprising, a retaliatory Israeli air strike in Gaza overnight killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her toddler.
The violence came on top of more than 10 days of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, as well as a series of Palestinian stabbings of Jews.
Gaza was only drawn into the violence on Friday, with clashes along the border since leaving nine Palestinians dead from Israeli fire.
Two rockets fired at Israel, one of which hit an open field and the other was intercepted, prompted Israel to carry out an air strike overnight Saturday targeting arms manufacturing facilities of the Islamist movement Hamas.
The Israeli strike demolished a house in the northern Gaza area of Zeitun, killing Nur Hassan, 30, and her two-year-old daughter Rahaf.
On Sunday night, another rocket crashed into an open field in southern Israel without causing harm on injury, the army said.
Palestinian protesters run through tear gas in clashes with Israeli security forces in Beit El,
Amid fury over the killings of the Palestinian mother and child, a spokesman for Hamas which controls the coastal enclave said “this shows the occupation’s desire to escalate”.
“We warn the seizure against continuing this foolishness,” said Sami Abu Zuhri.
Six Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in central and northern Gaza on Sunday.
A military spokeswoman told AFP that soldiers opened fire after hundreds of Palestinians hurled rocks and tried to rupture the border fence with burning tyres.
The Hamas chief in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, has already branded the spiralling violence between Israel and the Palestinians an intifada and called for further unrest.
Sunday’s attack near Gan Shmuel kibbutz left a 19-year-old female soldier in serious condition and a 20-year-old male soldier lightly injured.
He then charged out of the car to stab a 14-year-old girl and a 45-year-old man.
An AFP photographer at the scene said a yellow Fiat used by the assailant, its windshield smashed, was being examined by security forces for possible explosives.
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency identified the perpetrator as 20-year-old Alla Zayud from northern town of Umm el-Fahm.
Relatives of 13-year-old Palestinian Marwan Barbakh, who was killed in clashes with Israeli forces ,
Arab Israelis held presentations throughout northern Israel on Sunday, blocking roads and burning tyres. Police said the protests were “contained” and did not report any arrests.
The attack near the kibbutz was the 15th stabbing of Israelis since October 3, but the first by an Arab Israeli to cause injury. .
In a vengeance stabbing, a 17-year-old Jew in the southern Israeli city of Dimona injured two Palestinians and two Arab Israelis on Friday.
Sunday, an explosion seriously wounded a Palestinian woman and lightly injured an Israeli policeman at a West Bank checkpoint near Maale Adumim settlement.
After a policeman told 31-year-old Israa Jaabis to stop, she shouted “Allah Akbar” and blew up a gas cylinder in her car, security forces said.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas have sought to avoid an escalation, frustrated Palestinian youths have defied efforts to restore calm.
An Israeli security official, in a cabinet briefing on Sunday, charged that senior members of the Palestinian Authority and Abbas’s Fatah party were inciting violence.
Rioting has seen Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli forces throughout the West Bank, who have responded with live fire, rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.
Teenager Sharake, from Jalazun refugee camp, was killed in clashes that broke out as hundreds of Palestinians near Ramallah attempted to approach a road to throw stones and firebombs at settlers’ cars.
Near Nablus to the north, 55 Palestinians were injured by Israeli army live fire.
Clashes also erupted in Beit Umar, southern West Bank, where a Palestinian killed in clashes was buried Sunday, with doctors saying eight people were injured by rubber bullets and four by live fire.
Netanyahu has ordered the emergency call-up of 16 reserve border police units to reinforce officers in east Jerusalem and throughout Israel.
On Sunday, the cabinet avowed a four-year minimum prison term for people criminal of throwing stones at moving cars.