The Islamist Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip warned Israel Sunday against “foolishness” after local sources said an airstrike by Israel overnight killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her toddler.
“This shows the occupation’s desire to escalate,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas. “We warn the occupation against continuing this foolishness.”
Israel said it targeted two Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities overnight Saturday, after Gaza terrorists fired two rockets at southern Israel, triggering air-raid sirens in many communities and sending residents scrambling for cover.
One of the rockets hit an open field in southern Israel and the other was intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system.
Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes demolished a house in the northern area of Zeitun, killing Nur Hassan, 30, and her two-year-old daughter Rahaf, Gaza medics said, and trapping three others under the ruins.
Earlier on Sunday, shots were fired from Gaza at a group of IDF soldiers and civilians engaged in repairing the border fence after it was breached by Palestinian protesters the day before.
The IDF said that after the shooting, several bullet holes were found in a civilian vehicle. There was no one in the car at the time of the shooting and there were no injuries.
Meanwhile Sunday, Palestinians resumed protests near the border fence with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip, with soldiers fired warning shots to prevent them from crossing into Israel.
Seven Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were reported killed and 19 hurt on Friday and two more were killed Saturday, in clashes between the IDF and protesters near the border fence.
Confrontations along the border with the coastal enclave came after a spate of Palestinian attacks on security forces and civilians across Israel and in the West Bank over the past few weeks.
In all, 14 Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israeli civilians have occurred in the past week alone, and on Sunday morning police thwarted a suspected car bombing attempt as a Palestinian woman detonated a vehicle after she was stopped on an approach road to the capital. A policeman was lightly injured in the incident while the female bomber was severely injured.
Much of the violence has centered around Palestinian claims that Israel is seeking to change the five-decade-old status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a site holy to both Jews and Muslims. The site, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque, is administered by the Muslim Waqf. Under rules set by Israel, Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray at the site. Israel has repeatedly denied that it is intending to make changes to the current rules and says the accusations are incitement to violence.
The escalation in violence in the past week has led to mounting fears that Palestinian unrest was spiraling toward a wider uprising, or third intifada.