Israeli security officials reportedly said they have seen efforts by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “lower the flames” and calm tensions, as violence in Israel and the West Bank continues.
A security official said Friday that the problem faced now by both Israel and the Palestinians is how to confront the “lone wolf terrorism” — attacks by Palestinian individuals who are not backed by a terror group and who decide to act independently, Israel Radio reported.
The security establishment, meanwhile, is bracing for any developments emanating from the Gaza Strip.
According to Army Radio, the Islamist groups in the Strip continue to goad the Palestinian public to act violently against Israel.
Sheikh Nafez Azam, a member of the political wing of the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad, called on the Palestinian Authority’s security forces to confront IDF troops and settlers in the West Bank, and to halt any cooperation with Israel.
“Arab governments must give the Palestinians all the backing in Jerusalem and to defend al-Aqsa,” Azam said Friday, referring to the mosque that sits atop the Temple Mount.
Hamas’s chief in Gaza on Friday branded the recent violence an “intifada” and urged further unrest.
“We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada… It is the only path that will lead to liberation,” Ismail Haniyeh said during a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City.
“Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation,” he added.
Shortly after Haniyeh spoke, at least six Palestinians were killed and 19 others were hurt in the Gaza Strip when IDF soldiers opened fire on protesters from Hamas and Islamic Jihad who approached the border fence with Israel.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Hamas was to blame for the deaths, as it had encouraged the protesters to enter a closed area along the fence.
— Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.