Tensions escalated across Israel and Palestine Sunday as a pregnant Palestinian woman and her child were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said. Elsewhere, the New York Times reports, according to Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, a Palestinian woman killed herself and a police officer after she tried to ignite a gas balloon in her car.
30-year-old Noor Hassan and her daughter Shahd were killed when their house collapsed following the aerial bombing, Al Jazeera reports. The Israeli army said it was targeting two Hamas weapons-manufacturing sites nearby.
On Saturday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers, 13-year-old Marwan Barbakh and 15-year-old Omar Othman, in the Gaza Strip. Six Palestinians were killed during protests the day before, including a 15-year-old boy.
So far this month, four Israelis have been killed in Palestinian gun and knife attacks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and several more have been injured in about 10 copycat stabbings. Israeli forces have fatally shot at least 20 Palestinians, many of them teenagers, according to data compiled by the Palestinian health ministry and Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group. Some of the Palestinians were killed after carrying out attacks; others in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and along the border with Gaza. More than 1,000 Palestinians have been reported injured.
According to the Times, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called up 16 reserve companies of border police. “It is preferable to call up a massive force in advance to deal with possible developments than to call them up after the event,” the prime minister said.
Even so, it seems unlikely a heavier police presence will de-escalate rising tensions. “We feel that the intifada has begun,” an activist at Birzeit University, Mohammad Zeid, told the Times earlier this week. “This is a letter to our political leaders: We don’t want submission, which is what they think peace is.”