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Netanyahu mobilises army after attacks

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An Italian tourist was killed and five people were wounded in a car ramming attack in Tel Aviv that came hours after two Israeli-British sisters were killed in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank, and after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called up additional forces.

As the news spread, Netanyahu’s office announced he had ‘‘instructed the Israel Police to mobilise all reserve border police units and has directed the IDF to mobilise additional forces to confront the terror attacks’’.

The attacks, after a night of crossborder strikes in Gaza and Lebanon, added to an atmosphere of heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions following Israeli police raids in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque last week.

In the latest attack, a car ploughed into a group on a street near a popular bike and walking path on a Tel Aviv promenade. The driver was shot dead by a nearby police officer when he tried to pull a gun, police said.

An Israeli security source identified the assailant as an Arab citizen of Israel from the town of Kafr Qassem.

Reuters video from shortly after the incident showed a white car upside down on the grass of a park. Police cordoned off the area that was brimming with emergency responders.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said the victims were all foreign tourists and Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani confirmed that an Italian had been killed and other Italians may have been among the wounded.

Earlier two Israeli sisters, aged 20 and 16 with joint British nationality, were killed and their mother wounded in a shooting attack on their car near the Jewish settlement of Hamra in the Jordan Valley.

‘‘Our enemies are putting us to the test again,’’ Netanyahu said following a visit to the site of the attack with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

There were no claims of responsibility, but Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the blockaded Gaza Strip, praised the attacks and linked them to the tensions around al-Aqsa mosque.

Twice Israeli police raided the mosque, where hundreds of thousands of worshippers have been praying during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to dislodge groups they said had barricaded themselves with the aim of causing trouble.

Footage of officers beating worshippers who confronted them aroused concern, even among Israel’s allies.

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Article source: The Age / Reuters | Rami Amichay | 9.4.23

2023-10-24 01:28:30.000000