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09 October 2015

Palestinian intifada: third time's a charm

Hamas leader in Gaza declares intifada as deadly attacks continue

Hamas’s leader in Gaza has declared the current unrest in Jerusalem and the West Bank an intifada, as six Palestinians were shot dead protesting at the border fence, further raising the stakes after a week of escalating violence.

The comments by Ismail Haniyeh contradicted recent remarks by Fatah’s leadership, including the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. There has been increasingly widespread use of the hashtag #intifada on Palestinian social media.

In a sermon for Friday prayers at a mosque in Gaza City, Haniyeh said: “We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada. It is the only path that will lead to liberation. Gaza will fulfil its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation.”

Six dead as violence continues in Israel and Palestinian territories - live updates
Follow live updates as Israel deploys thousands of police officers in a bid to prevent attacks as thousands of Palestinians enter Jerusalem’s old city to pray
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Israeli troops fired across the border into Gaza, killing six and wounding 23 others among a group throwing stones and taking part in a rally, hospital officials in Gaza said.

The rally had been called in support of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and followed a spate of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and reprisals by Jews against Arabs. 

An Israeli military spokeswoman said around 200 Palestinians massed at the border fence in northern Gaza, throwing rocks and rolling burning tyres toward troops stationed on the other side.

In the southern Israeli city of Dimona, a Jewish attacker stabbed two Palestinians and two Arab Israelis and later told police: “All Arabs are terrorists.”

A Palestinian stabbed a policeman near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, and was shot dead by the policeman, who was lightly wounded. A 16-year-old Israeli was lightly wounded in a stabbing in Jerusalem and an 18-year-old Palestinian suspect was arrested.

A woman was shot after a stabbing attempt in the northern Israeli town of Afula. Video of the incident at a bus station showed the woman surrounded by police and security guards, apparently raising her hands before being shot multiple times.

The violence has been characterised by seemingly random and low-tech attacks with knives and screwdrivers. Israel has installed metal detectors at the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City and deployed extra security forces.

The so-called seam line between the Jewish west and largely Palestinian east Jerusalem close to the Old City – the scene of a number of attacks and attempted attacks over the last year – was eerily quiet on Friday.

The mounting tension has empowered hardliners on both sides. Supporters of Nechamia Lavie, the rabbi stabbed to death last week, have established a presence in the Old City’s Al-Wad Street, near the corner of the Via Dolorosa in the Muslim Quarter. There have also been visits by prominent politicians including Yitzhak Herzog, the Israeli Labour party leader, and Yair Lapid, former journalist and leader of centrist party Yesh Atid.