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Israel-Palestine: Lynching, crackdowns and deaths - here's what happened last night

Violence escalates again overnight across Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza
Palestinian demonstrators run away from gas
Palestinian demonstrators run away from gas fired by Israeli soldiers near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on 13 May, 2021 (Abbas Momani/AFP).

Wednesday night saw even more violence across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, with harrowing footage of lynchings and police brutality emerging while Hamas and Israel exchanged rocket fire.

Here’s what happened in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Israel

The worse violence was in Arab-minority towns in Israel, with scores of videos making the rounds online showing attacks described as "lynchings", and police brutality amid Palestinian protests.

In scenes repeated across several cities, gangs of youths threw stones and stormed shops belonging to Palestinians.

Israeli police have arrested 374 people so far.

Video footage shared widely on social media appeared to show a group of Israelis attempting to break into a Palestinian home in Haifa.

While the family manages to repel the initial attack, police then burst into the home and arrest and beat a number of the residents.

While MEE cannot independently verify the footage, there have been numerous reports of violence between Palestinians and Israeli Jews in Haifa over the past few days

Elsewhere, a video seen by Middle East Eye showed a large group of Israelis, some carrying national flags, pelting rocks at a Palestinian car. Another shows a group of Israelis attacking an Israeli ambulance, reportedly carrying a Palestinian.

Footage from Akka showed a group of Israelis chanting "death to Arabs" in Hebrew.

Another video, on Instagram, reportedly also from Akka - and too explicit to publish - shows Israeli security forces walking away from a Palestinian man lying motionless, eyes staring at the ceiling, on the floor of an apartment building.

Israeli paper Haaretz reported that five Palestinians in the city seriously wounded a 30-year-old Jewish man, after police told Palestinian shop owners to shutter stores because of expected attacks by far-right Israelis.

In Bat Yam, a suburb of Tel Aviv, a Palestinian was pulled from his car and lynched during a live broadcast on an Israeli television channel. The 33-year-old man was treated overnight and his condition has improved, according to Haaretz.

Photos of him, which are too explicit to publish, show a deep puncture wound and major swelling on one side of his face.

Far-right Israelis had previously roamed the city attacking Arab-owned businesses and chanting racist slogans, according to Haaretz.

In Lod, called Lydd by Palestinians, where yesterday a night curfew was announced, a video showed a group of Israelis waving flags walking towards the town centre - accompanied by security forces.

Jewish-Israelis provoked Palestinians by approaching the mourning tent for Moussa Hassuna, a Palestinian protester who was shot dead on Monday evening. The three Israeli suspects arrested after his murder were released on Thursday after prominent Israeli politicians decried their arrests.

Also in Lod, a Jewish man was shot and two others suffered stab wounds, Haaretz reported, while 20 people were taken to the Shamir Medical Centre. More than 20 people were reportedly arrested.

Police said they had responded to violent incidents in multiple towns, including Lod, Acre and Haifa, according to AFP.

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MEE correspondent Lubna Masarwa reported that groups of Israelis tried to attack Palestinians in villages in the "northern triangle" area, where around a third of Israel's population of Palestinian citizens live.

Unrest was also reported in southern Israel. Nineteen Jews were detained for disorderly conduct, according to Haaretz, along with three Arabs, after hundreds of Israeli Jews marched through the city of Beersheba, also chanting "death to Arabs".

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered a "massive reinforcement" of border police across the territory on Thursday, saying, "we're in an emergency", according to Haaretz.

West Bank

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, as tensions flared in the occupied Palestinian territory into the late hours of the night, with Palestinians taking to the streets to protest against Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied East Jerusalem, and ongoing violence targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel. 

Early in the morning, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians - 16-year-old Rashid Abu Arreh from the northern West Bank city of Tubas, and 28-year-old Hussein al-Titi from the Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron - during two of a series of raids across the West Bank, in which Israeli forces arrested 40 Palestinians. 

Later on Wednesday, local media reported that Israeli forces shot and killed another Palestinian man allegedly involved in a shooting attack south of Nablus that reportedly left two Israeli soldiers injured. 

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Palestinian media identified the man as 36-year-old Mohammed Omar Saeed, a former prisoner from the Ras al-Ain area of Nablus. 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Health confirmed all three deaths, adding that at least 27 Palestinians had been injured across the West Bank during confrontations with Israeli forces that lasted into the late hours of Wednesday night.

Several other areas in the occupied West Bank witnessed confrontations, reported MEE correspondent Shatha Hammad. 

Twenty people were hospitalised in Hebron, the scene of much of the violence; seven in Nablus, and five in Tulkarem.

There were also violent crackdowns in the villages of Al-Mughayer, east of Ramallah, and Jayyus, northeast of Qalqilya, on the morning of the first day of Eid al-Fitr.

In the afternoon, the Israeli army announced that one of its operatives had been run over near the Givat Asaf settlement, which is built on land around Ramallah. The army said the suspected attacker fled the scene and i still the focus of a manhunt.

The Israeli army also deployed military checkpoints, and launched campaigns of arrest and detention against Palestinians.

Gaza

The death toll from the Israeli air strikes on Gaza, now in their fourth day, reached 83 on Thursday, while Hamas continued to fire retaliatory rockets towards Israeli cities, causing casualties.

According to Wafa news agency, Gaza rescue crews recovered the bodies of a Palestinian couple from under the rubble of a building at dawn on Thursday; Israeli forces on Wednesday night had targeted Sheikh Zayed City in the town of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip.

Gaza's health ministry on Thursday said 17 children and seven women were among the dead, while 487 people had been wounded.

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In Israel, six civilians, including a five-year-old child, have been killed as a result of the missiles fired by Palestinian armed factions, according to Israeli media. One soldier has also been killed.

Meanwhile, Israel's army on Thursday said it had received a rocket warning in the north of the country, the first time the alert has been triggered there since hostilities soared earlier this week.

The approximately 1,500 rockets fired from Gaza since Monday by the Qassam Brigades, the Hamas movement's military wing, had so far set off warnings in southern and central Israel, but not in the north, the army said.

However in the small hours of Thursday morning, alarms not only sounded in the economic capital Tel Aviv in the middle of the country - where residents rushed to shelters - but also in Jezreel Valley in the north.

The missiles led an incoming flight to be diverted away from Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday, with the plane landing in a southern airport designed to serve as a wartime alternative to its main international gateway outside Tel Aviv, aviation tracker Avi Scharf said on Twitter.

The army also said in a tweet that it had targeted "strategically significant buildings belonging to Hamas & a Hamas naval force squad".

The targets of the air strikes included Hamas' main bank and counterintelligence infrastructure, the army added.

Jerusalem

Confrontations broke out in several areas in Jerusalem, according to MEE correspondent Latifeh Abdellatif, including in Al-Issawiya, Al-Tur, Sheikh Jarrah and Damascus Gate.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, 51 people in the city were hospitalised overnight.

Israeli ultra-nationalists also attacked Palestinian youths, including one who was stabbed on Jaffa Street, and others in Silwan.

Another Palestinian was wounded in the Al-Suwana neighbourhood.

As for Sheikh Jarrah, where attempts to forcibly displace Palestinian families sparked country-wide protests, security forces cracked down on Palestinians while protecting groups of settlers throwing stones and water bottles at them. 

The police accompanied dozens of heavily armed settlers into the neighbourhood, Abdellatif reported, and didn’t stop them ransacking the area.

The violence looks to be far from over. Text messages seen by MEE on Thursday appear to show plans by Israeli far-right gangs to mount further attacks against Palestinians on Thursday night.