03/31/2022, 17.59
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Violence and tensions in Jerusalem leave three people dead, one wounded

After the Bnei Brak attack, two Palestinians die in a gunfight with security forces during a raid on a refugee camp near Jenin. A 28-year-old Israeli was stabbed on a bus, while the attacker was killed. Far-right Knesset member Ben-Gvir's visit to the Esplanade of Mosques risks sparking new violence on the eve of Ramadan.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Tensions are still running high in Israel and Palestine, following three incidents causing the death of at least 11 people, including civilians, and raising fears of an uncontrolled escalation.

Making matters worse, far-right Knesset Member Itamar Ben-Gvir went to the Temple Mount, adding fuel to the smoldering fire.

In the latest incident, three Palestinians were killed and an Israeli was seriously wounded.

This morning, a 28-year-old Israeli was seriously injured after a Palestinian attacked him with a screwdriver on a bus near the West Bank settlement of Efrat.

After first aid, he was transferred to the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, where he underwent surgery.

The attacker, 38-year-old Palestinian Nidal Jaa'fra, a native of Bethlehem, was shot dead by another passenger, an armed civilian.

In another incident, two other Palestinians, aged 17 and 23, were killed and three others seriously injured in a gun exchange with Israeli soldiers near a refugee camp in Jenin. An Israeli soldier was slightly injured.

The Israeli raid against the camp was aimed at arresting a Palestinian suspected of links to the terrorist attack on Tuesday evening in Bnei Brak, in which five people died.

The camp near Jenin was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the second Palestinian intifada. In April 2002, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian militants in the camp, resulting in the death of 23 Israeli soldiers and more than 50 Palestinians.

Over the past few years, the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has struggled to control the area and Palestinians have often fired upon Israeli security forces.

Against this background of rising tensions, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, went this morning to the Temple Mount in the old city.

“My visit sends a simple message: I am not surrendering and folding to terror. The State of Israel must not surrender and fold to terrorists who want to kill us,” he said in a “message” addressed to Hamas, which he claims has targeted him.

“[T]hose who control the mount control all of Israel. Even the enemy understands this,” he added. The mount here is the Temple Mount, which is also known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary.

For security reasons linked to the recent wave of violence, Israeli authorities are deploying 3,000 officers to boost security ahead of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and prayer, which this year overlaps with the Jewish celebration of Passover and Christian Easter holidays as well as Israel’s Independence Day.

Jerusalem police also temporarily banned men under 45 from the site.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Fazi Barhoum responded to Ben-Gvir's “provocative” visit to the sanctuary.

Following the decision to allow Ben-Gvir to “invade the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, we warn Ben-Gvir not to approach the mosque,” he said. “Likewise, we hold Israel responsible for the consequences of this dangerous step,” he added.

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