At least six Palestinians have lost their lives and more than a dozen others sustained injuries after Israeli forces opened fire at a group of Palestinian protesters in the eastern part of the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Palestinian medical sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hammoud Hisham Muhsen, Ahmad al-Harbawi, Abed al-Wahidi and Hussam Dawla were fatally shot as Israeli troopers fired live bullets to disperse the Palestinian protesters east of the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on Friday, Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
The identity of two of the victims have not immediately been released.
The sources added that as many as 35 Palestinians were also wounded during the imbroglio, describing the injuries as slight to moderate.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces also attacked Palestinians protesting against Tel Aviv's provocations at al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to reports, five Palestinians were injured during clashes at a checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, while seven others sustained injuries in similar skirmishes in Bethlehem, south of al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The development came only hours after an Israeli man stabbed and injured four Palestinians in the southern Israeli city of Dimona, which lies in the Negev desert and 36 kilometers (22 miles) south of Beersheba.
The unidentified Israeli assailant reportedly first attacked a 35-year-old Bedouin laborer, before fleeing the scene and stabbing another three Palestinian Bedouin workers. All the four victims are said to be in their 50s.
The 17-year-old stabber, known to police, said under questioning that he believes all Arabs are terrorists, and that is the reason why he stabbed the Palestinians.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli forces shot a Palestinian woman in the northern city of Afula after she allegedly brandished a knife and sought to stab an Israeli guard at the city’s central bus station.
Meanwhile, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called the recent spate of clashes between Palestianians and Israeli military troopers in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds over the past few days an “Intifada (uprising)” against the Tel Aviv regime.
“We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the Intifada... It is the only path that will lead to liberation,” Haniyeh said during a sermon aimed at Palestinian worshipers attending Friday prayers at a mosque in Gaza City.
“Gaza will fulfill its role in the al-Quds Intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation,” he pointed out.
On Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Right Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressed extreme concern over the escalation of the tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories, urging an end to the violence.
The UN official also warned about the rising number of the Palestinians injured by live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi also denounced the Israeli regime for its “racist and aggressive” practices towards the Palestinians, calling on the United Nations to take necessary measures to bring to a halt Tel Aviv’s acts of violence.
“The continuing escalation of attacks on the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation authorities and settlers threatens to exacerbate the situation in the entire region as the international community remains silent to these crimes,” the Arab League chief warned in a statement released on Thursday.
Palestinians are angry at the Israeli regime for imposing restrictions on their entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is the third holiest mosque to Muslims after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
On Thursday, Tel Aviv banned Palestinian men under the age of 50 from attending Friday prayers at the mosque, located in East al-Quds.