The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they unfolded.
The United States “strongly condemns” the terror attack in Tel Aviv on Friday evening, says State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel in a statement.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones, and wish a full recovery to the injured,” says Patel, noting that the attack in Tel Aviv, in which an Italian tourist was killed and seven others were wounded, followed a shooting attack in the West Bank that killed two Israeli sisters, and critically hurt their mother, all British nationals.
“The targeting of innocent civilians of any nationality is unconscionable. The United States stands with the government and people of Israel. We are in close contact with our Israeli partners and reaffirm our enduring commitment to their security,” says Patel.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expresses her solidarity with Israel following the “cowardly attack” in Tel Aviv this evening in which an Italian national, 35-year-old Allesandro Parini, was killed. At least seven others were injured, including tourists.
“Deep sorrow and condolences for the death of one of our nationals, Alessandro Parini, in the terrorist attack that took place in the evening in Tel Aviv. Condolences to the victim’s family, to the wounded and solidarity with the State of Israel for the cowardly attack that hit him,” she writes on Twitter.
Meloni says her government is in contact with Israeli authorities about the wounded victims, some of whom are also Italian nationals.
The People’s Committee in Kfar Qassem, a local leadership group, says in a statement that members “strongly condemn the serious attack that took place tonight, send our condolences to the family of the person murdered, and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”
The attacker in the Tel Aviv car-ramming attack tonight was earlier identified as Yousef Abu Jaber, 45, a resident of Kafr Qassem. He had no known prior security offenses.
“We condemn any harm to innocent lives and call for tolerance from all sides. This is not the way of the residents of Kafr Qassem. The city was and remains a place for living together and pursuing peace,” the group says in its statement.
Shin Bet agents and police officers are at Jaber’s home in the central Arab-majority city on Friday night to question his family members.
The terrorist who carried out the deadly car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv is named as Yousef Abu Jaber, 45, a resident of Kafr Qassem.
He has no known prior security offenses.
Shin Bet agents and police officers are at Jaber’s home in Kafr Qassem currently to question family members.
The tourist killed in the car-ramming terror attack earlier at the Tel Aviv promenade was named by Italian authorities as Alessandro Parini. According to Italian news network Corriere Della Sera, Parini was 35 years old and lived in Rome.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani, also the minister of foreign affairs condemned the “cowardly attack” in Tel Aviv and expressed his condolences to the families of the victim and seven other people injured, including other tourists. He said the Italian Foreign Ministry was communicating with Israeli authorities.
— Tv2000.it (@TV2000it) April 7, 2023
Palestinian media outlets report armed clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops in the West Bank town of Burqin, near Jenin.
A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad says its members are engaging Israeli forces who entered the town.
There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces or Border Police.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) April 7, 2023
Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv says four of the five victims of the Tel Aviv ramming attack that were brought to the hospital were tourists, clarifying an earlier claim that all five held foreign citizenship.
According to the hospital, three of the tourists are British and one is Italian, the same national origin as the sole fatality.
Three are listed in moderate condition, one is listed in light condition and another person was treated for shock trauma. Some of the patients were set to undergo surgery, but none were in life-threatening danger.
There is no immediate comment from London, which earlier in the day expressed condolences after two dual national Israeli-British sisters were killed in a West Bank terror attack and their mother, also a dual national, was critically injured.
Residents of Kafr Qassem say Israeli agents with the Shin Bet security service are raiding the home of a man suspected of carrying out the Tel Aviv terror ramming, Hebrew-language media report.
However, reports also indicate that authorities suspect the car driven by the attacker may have been stolen.
Pictures of an Israeli ID card claiming to show the identity of the attacker, and supposedly found at the scene of the ramming, apparently belong to another person, raising suspicions that the actual driver may be from somewhere other than Kafr Qassem, a central Israeli city.
Video shows a vehicle speeding down a Tel Aviv sidewalk in what police officials have called a terrorist ramming attack.
The footage shows the car driving onto a bike lane and accelerating down the sidewalk, then driving onto a grassy area of a park and flipping over.
— וואלה! (@WallaNews) April 7, 2023
Police said the driver attempted to get out of the vehicle with a weapon after the crash, when officers at the scene shot and killed him.
Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed says the suspected attacker in a Tel Aviv ramming drove onto a bicycle lane in a “clear” manner and hit a number of people in the pedestrian area.
Police are looking into the attacker’s motives and background, and are searching the area for evidence, Eshed says in a statement to the media.
Eshed says the area has been closed off.
He says the incident has ended and there are no fears of other attackers at the moment.
Eshed warns against misinformation circulating online.
Multiple reports say the suspected attacker was from the Israeli town of Kfar Qasem.
Channel 12 reports the suspect worked in Tel Aviv.
Police say the terrorist who carried out a car-ramming and shooting attack in Tel Aviv was shot dead by officers.
According to police, an officer at a nearby gas station heard a commotion after the terrorist rammed into people at the Charles Clore Park on the Tel Aviv waterfront.
“The policeman approached the car together with the Tel Aviv municipality inspectors, and identified that the driver was trying to reach for the weapon he had in his possession,” police say.
“The policeman and the inspectors neutralized the driver and killed him,” police add.
The Magen David Adom emergency service says all of the victims of today’s terror attack in Tel Aviv are tourists.
Medics have declared the death of a man around the age of 30. Earlier reports said the fatality was an Italian visitor.
Five others have been injured. Three are moderately injured — a 39-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl.
Two are lightly hurt — a man around the age of 50 and a 70-year-old woman.
Police say the attacker ran over a group of tourists with a vehicle.
One of the first responders tells Army Radio, “I got to the scene first. I saw three injured lying on the ground. The terrorist was lying with a weapon next to him and a few police officers around him.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu is briefed about the terror attack in Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu orders police to call up all reservist Border Police units, in a major step that likely reflects fears of a further escalation.
Netanyahu tells the IDF to mobilize more units to confront terror attacks, after two deadly incidents today.
The prime minister calls on citizens to heed the instructions of security forces.
The Magen David Adom emergency service says medics have confirmed one fatality during a terror incident in Tel Aviv.
The death is a man around the age of 30, medics say.
Several reports say the fatality was a foreign tourist who was visiting Israel.
The Walla news site says the fatality was Italian, and the attacker was an Arab Israeli.
Medics are treating four wounded, including two in moderate condition and two who are lightly injured.
The wounded have been taken to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and Holon’s Wolfson Hospital.
Conflicting reports say the attacker fired out the window of his vehicle, then crashed; or ran people over, then got out and started firing his weapon.
Footage said to be from the scene shows an overturned vehicle and what appears to be police firing at a downed attacker.
תיעוד חיסול המחבל מהפיגוע בתל אביב pic.twitter.com/WrAafvcBen
— וואלה! (@WallaNews) April 7, 2023
Police say a suspected terror incident in Tel Aviv was a car-ramming attack, and the alleged attacker has been “neutralized.”
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says one person, a 35-year-old man, is shot during the incident, apparently the attacker.
MDA says one person is dead and six wounded. It’s unclear if the fatality was the attacker.
There are at least three others hurt as a result of the ramming, according to MDA.
Live footage broadcast from the area shows a number of emergency vehicles at Charles Clore Park, and responders scanning the area with flashlights.
A section of the park and adjacent street appears to be closed off with tape.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says four people are wounded in a suspected terror attack in Tel Aviv.
According to the service, the attack possibly occurred at two locations, on Kaufmann Street and near Charles Clore Park.
One of the victims is in serious condition, one is in moderate condition, and two others are lightly hurt, according to MDA.
At least two of the victims are hurt by gunfire, with police saying the attacker also carried out a car-ramming attack.
The suspected attacker has been “neutralized,” the service adds.
Police say the circumstances of the incident are still under review.
Channel 13 says one person was seriously injured, one moderately hurt, and one neutralized at one attack site, and at a separate site, five victims were injured in a ramming attack.
After National Security Minister Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Smotrich criticized the government’s response to recent terror attacks, sources close to Prime Minister Netanyahu hit back at the two far-right lawmakers.
The sources close to Netanyahu are furious with Ben Gvir and Smotrich, and say the two are hurting Israel’s deterrence due to political considerations, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
Likud lawmakers have been asked to appeal to Ben Gvir and Smotrich to act more responsibly.
Ben Gvir said today he was considering leaving the government over its failure to respond forcefully enough to Palestinian terror while insisting that he would support it from the opposition and would not allow the coalition to collapse.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich indicated to supporters that his patience for his government is running thin in light of its handling of Palestinian terror.
“The fact that checkpoints around Nablus are open is an intolerable crime. We’ve been speaking about this for weeks. I try very hard to be loyal to outward appearances and not attack the government I am a member of, but it can’t continue like this,” he writes on WhatsApp, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
A woman who was wounded in a West Bank terror shooting earlier today remains in critical condition.
The woman’s two daughters, aged 15 and 21, were killed in the attack. The victims are British-Israeli nationals.
The mother is undergoing operations at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital and is still in danger of losing her life, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
She suffered a number of penetrative wounds to her upper body in the shooting.
Doctors have carried out complex operations since she arrived at the hospital and are fighting to save her life.
Her evacuation by helicopter to the hospital was delayed because medics needed to stabilize her before removing her from the scene of the shooting.
Dozens of her friends and family are gathered in the hospital and will likely remain there for Shabbat.
Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter says Israel has been caught off guard by Iran’s recent activities.
“I admit we’ve all been surprised” by Iran’s new alliances, says Dichter, the former head of the Shin Bet security agency and a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Dichter cites Iran’s “alliance with China, agreements with the Saudis, agreements soon with the Gulf states.”
“This is a new story,” he says in an interview with Channel 12 news.
Iranian and Saudi diplomats met in Beijing yesterday, after the two rival Middle Eastern powers announced a Beijing-brokered agreement to restore relations last month, seven years after they severed ties. Israel has long sought relations with Saudi Arabia.
Earlier today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in a phone call that “the Islamic world should be united against Israel’s attacks in Palestine.” The stance represents an apparent shift for Erdogan, who had been leading a policy over the past year that has seen Turkey warm its ties with Israel.
Iran also supports the Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Beirut for what Hamas sources called a “private visit” this week. Media reports said he was meeting with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Hamas launched volleys of rockets at Israel this week from both Gaza and Lebanon.
Dichter also says that if there had been fatalities at the Temple Mount this week, “we’d have been in a completely different situation.” Images of Israeli police fighting with Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount were viewed widely in the Arab world this week, sparking outrage.
Dichter says it will be hard to ensure calm for Jews at the Western Wall next week. The wall is the holiest site for Jews where they are allowed to openly pray and is a part of the Temple Mount, located beneath the esplanade that houses Al-Aqsa.
Next week is the Priestly Blessing ceremony, known in Hebrew as the Birkat Hacohanim, which sees thousands pray at the Western Wall. The ceremony happens twice a year, including during this week’s Passover holiday.
Dichter also says he still sees Yoav Gallant as the defense minister, even though Prime Minister Netanyahu announced Gallant’s firing late last month. Gallant has not been formally fired and remains in his position.
Dichter says Netanyahu never offered him the defense post, after media reports at the time said Dichter was a candidate for the job.
Dichter says he tried to mediate between Netanyahu and Gallant.
When asked what would happen if Gallant was ousted from office, Dichter says, “We’ll talk,” because Israel cannot be left without a defense minister.
The UK government says it is “saddened” by the death of two British citizens in a terror shooting in the West Bank earlier today.
Two British-Israeli sisters, aged 15 and 21, were shot to death while driving in the Jordan Valley. The sisters’ mother was critically wounded in the shooting and is currently being treated in the hospital.
“We are saddened to hear about the deaths of two British-Israeli citizens and the serious injuries sustained by a third individual. The UK calls for all parties across the region to de-escalate tensions,” the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office says in a statement, according to the UK’s Sky News.
Israel has avoided attacking Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group in the latest round of fighting, to avoid a wider-scale conflict, Channel 12 reports.
The IDF has focused its counterstrikes on the Hamas terror group, including Hamas targets in Lebanon.
Senior security officials have told government ministers that Hezbollah was taking measures to show it was not involved.
Mossad chief David Barnea, however, supported counterattacks against Hezbollah, the report says.
The Axios and Walla news sites also report that Israel is trying to avoid escalating hostilities with Hezbollah, fearing the fighting could broaden into precision strikes on Israeli cities and outright war with Hezbollah.
The reports also say the IDF and Mossad differed in their approach, with the Mossad favoring action against Hezbollah as well as against Hamas.
Government ministers supported the IDF’s position of focusing on Hamas, Axios reports.
The report says Hezbollah communicated to Israel through international mediators that it wasn’t involved in rocket fire from Lebanon.
Military chief Herzi Halevi says Israel’s enemies “should not draw false conclusions” regarding the Israel Defense Forces, amid rising tensions in the region.
In remarks provided by the IDF following an assessment at the Northern Command, Halevi says: “This is a complex period, the IDF is strong and will continue to use force as necessary, against any enemy and in any arena. I suggest to our enemies not draw false conclusions about us.”
“Both during the holidays and during times of internal public debate, the IDF is prepared, ready and determined to provide security to the citizens of the State of Israel,” he adds, referring to the controversy over the government’s planned judicial overhaul.
The mayor of Kiryat Shmona announces that he refused a request from a soccer team from the Arab town of Sakhnin to rent a stadium in his city for a match, as ethnic tensions intensify amid the latest security escalation.
Kiryat Shmona mayor Avichai Stern justifies his decision by pointing to the clashes between Israeli police and a group of Sakhnin residents last night.
“Those who call for bombing Kiryat Shmona are not worthy of being hosted by us,” Stern says in a statement. It was not clear what threat to bomb Kiryat Shmona he was referring to.
Bnei Sakhnin is in need of a stadium for its next match after the team was penalized for its fans lighting fireworks and throwing objects on the field during a match last month against Beitar Jerusalem, a squad with a similarly hardline fan base.
Stern writes that he could not “stand by when there are those who call for harming the residents of Kiryat Shmona or to the citizens of Israel, nor [could he] allow them to enter our house through the main door,” even if it is only some of Sakhnin’s residents causing trouble and not all of them.
“This is racism for its own sake,” Bnei Sakhnin chair Muhammad Abu Younes responds.
He says he and his team weren’t involved in the clashes with cops yesterday and shouldn’t be held responsible.
“How does this have anything to do with a soccer game? This week we played against them and it was held in good spirits.”
Abu Younes calls out the hypocrisy in Stern taking issue with Bnei Sakhnin’s fans while saying nothing about the racist La Familia fans of Beitar Jerusalem.
He also dismisses Stern’s claim that Sakhnin residents or his team called for Kiryat Shmona to be bombed. “Where did that claim come from?” he asks.
Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman tells Channel 12 that the military response approved last night by the government to rocket fire from Gaza and Lebanon was an “insulting… bad joke.”
Liberman is a bitter opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has come out against just about every decision he has made over the past several years.
“Our response was an insult. Truly a bad joke,” he tells Channel 12. “Nobody [behind the rockets from Lebanon] was so much as scratched — not those who gave the order to fire on the state of Israel and not those who carried out the fire. The instruction was not to so much as scratch anyone. And the same applies to Gaza.”
“They say, it’s the middle of a festival. Ramadan. Well, we’re in the middle of a festival too,” Liberman says, referring to Passover.
“In the middle of [our] holiday they fired on the north, they fired on the south, they murdered sisters. And nothing [in terms of an effective Israeli response].”
He claims the Netanyahu government is “scared” and has been “deterred” by fear of escalating the conflict.
“Our deterrence against [Hezbollah chief Hassan] Nasrallah has been completely eroded.”
Egypt says it is “greatly concerned” by the security escalation over the past 48 hours since Israeli police “stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacked worshippers.”
Israel maintains that its troops were forced to enter the mosque early Tuesday after Palestinians barricaded themselves inside and stockpiled weapons to use against police and civilians.
“All parties must exercise maximum restraint and respond [responsibly] to efforts to restore calm in order to spare the region more [violence],” Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid says.
Qatar’s foreign ministry “strongly condemns the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon,” referring to IDF air strikes in response to rocket fire from both territories.
“The foreign ministry holds Israel solely responsible for widening the cycle of violence,” it says in a statement, citing Israeli police beating of Palestinian worshippers on the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque compound two days ago. Israel maintains that its troops were forced to enter the mosque after Palestinians barricaded themselves inside and stockpiled weapons to use against police and civilians.
Doha “also stresses the need for the international community to act urgently” to coax Israel to halt its actions, its foreign ministry adds, calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
The two Israeli sisters killed in a terror shooting earlier today in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank were also British nationals, Sky News reports, citing a UK official.
Their family is believed to have moved to Israel some 20 years ago, the news site says.
The sisters’ mother was critically wounded in the shooting and is currently being treated in the hospital.
Yoav Horowitz, who served as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff until 2020, tells Haaretz that for the premier, “losing isn’t an option. He won’t rest until the entire judicial system is on the floor, begging for forgiveness,” apparently for having indicted him and put him on trial.
Horowitz was spotted for the first time last week at protests against the government’s effort to overhaul the judiciary.
Discussing his decision to leave the post, Horowitz says, “I was afraid of where things were heading. He saw himself as a Caesar or president of a superpower.”
“I saw how much he wanted to be like Putin. He now wants unlimited power, with no one who can restrain him. I fear for my four sons, who are in or about to join the army. Who will lead them and to where?” Horowitz says.
The IDF largely aimed at Hamas targets in its airstrikes last night in Gaza and Lebanon in order to avoid drawing Hezbollah into a wider conflict, according to a report in the Walla news site.
Walla said that ministers believe that it is not currently in Israel’s interest to embark in a massive military operation and accordingly preferred a more measured response to the rocket fire from the previous two days.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops downed a small drone that crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel earlier today.
A statement from the IDF said air control units tracked the device “throughout the incident” before taking it down, near the town of Zar’it.
It did not specify how the drone was brought down as it entered Israeli airspace; however, it was believed to have been done using electronic warfare means.
In an image shared by the army, the drone appears to be a commercially available quadcopter.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant together visit the scene of today’s deadly terror shooting in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank and use the opportunity to issue statements to reporters regarding the ongoing security escalation.
Netanyahu in his remarks refers to Gallant as defense minister, after announcing a decision to fire him and subsequently cold-shouldering him for over a week and a half since.
Netanyahu says “It’s only a matter of time, but not a lot of time” until Israel catches the perpetrators of the attack.
The premier says the security cabinet approved a series of military operations last night in response to rocket fire from Lebanon and Gaza and that not all of them have been finished after overnight IDF airstrikes in both countries.
He says the decisions included arrests across the West Bank along with other operations about which he could not elaborate.
Netanyahu says “Our enemies are once again testing us,” but will learn that they were mistaken to do so and that Israel will respond forcefully.
Gallant says Israel is working intensely to apprehend the suspects responsible for today’s terror shooting.
Whoever tries to harm Israelis “will either find themself in a grave or in jail,” says the defense minister.
“Whoever tries to turn our holiday into days of mourning will regret doing so,” Gallant adds.
Their joint appearance comes less than two weeks after Netanyahu announced that he decided to fire Gallant after the latter called on the government to pause its judicial overhaul because opposition to it had “penetrated the IDF and security agencies.”
However, Netanyahu has yet to submit a formal letter of dismissal, and earlier this week, his office said that the premier was putting the firing on hold due to the security situation.
National Unity chair Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid tear into National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir after the latter claimed the opposition was “encouraging our enemies to start a military conflict against us.”
Gantz says the far-right national security’s remarks show that he’s “completely lost his marbles.”
“There has never been a cabinet minister who talked so much about security and understood so little,” Gantz says.
Ben Gvir in his original post said he was considering leaving the government over its failure to respond forcefully enough to Palestinian terror while insisting that he would support it from the opposition and would not allow the coalition to collapse.
In his own response post, Lapid writes, “On this sad day, a few hours after the murder of two young sisters, the TikTok affairs minister Ben Gvir chooses to publish a wretched and whiny post in which he is only running away from responsibility and looking for culprits for the failures with his name on them. I don’t want to think about what he would say about this failed government if he was in the opposition.”
Lapid has repeatedly mocked Ben Gvir as the “TikTok affairs minister” for the national security minister’s active social media presence, though Lapid has been found to post more on the video service app than Ben Gvir does.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in a phone call that “the Islamic world should be united against Israel’s attacks in Palestine,” according to a Turkish readout.
The stance represents an apparent shift for Erdogan, who had been leading a policy over the past year that has seen Turkey warm its ties with Israel. During that time though, Turkish officials warned that deteriorations in the Israeli-Palestinian ties would lead to similar trends in Jerusalem-Ankara ties.
“Emphasizing that common sense should prevail to prevent a new spiral of violence, Erdogan said that it would be beneficial to take initiatives to guide all parties to common sense,” the readout says, without elaborating.
Erdogan also called on Raisi to “jointly continue efforts in international platforms, especially in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the UN, to preserve the status of holy places,” according to his office.
“Erdogan said it is important to demonstrate unity, particularly in the face of recent acts such as the burning of the holy Quran in European cities,” it adds.
The readout is issued shortly after Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s office published its own readout from a call he held with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, which indicated that Israel was making headway in convincing Ankara of its position.
“As part of the intensive activity of Foreign Minister Eli Cohen with his colleagues in the Middle East and around the world, Minister Cohen spoke by phone today with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in order to calm tensions and send a message to the Hamas terror organization that Israel will respond strongly to the continuation of terrorism and violence,” the readout says.
Hamas is known to have ties with the Turkish government, which has long hosted officials from the terror group on its soil; and Israel often uses that relationship to pass along messages to Hamas.
“In messages to his colleagues in the Middle East and around the world: Israel will respond strongly to any attempt to harm Israeli citizens; Hamas is responsible for the latest round of escalation — on the Temple Mount, in Gaza and in Lebanon — and Hamas will pay the price for recent events; Israel is committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount and to freedom of worship in Jerusalem for all religions.”
The IDF says a suspect allegedly involved in a shooting attack against troops in the West Bank last night has been detained.
According to the IDF, the Palestinian who allegedly opened fire and wounded one soldier at the Geva Binyamin Junction, just north of Jerusalem, is detained in the nearby West Bank town of a-Ram.
The military says the arrest was made following intelligence given to them by the Shin Bet security agency.
Separately, another three wanted Palestinians are detained in other areas of the West Bank this morning, the IDF says.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir responds to criticism from his far-right base that the government hasn’t responded forcefully enough to the terror attacks over the past several days.
“I do not determine security policy by myself,” he says in a statement. “There is no doubt that I have a certain influence, but it’s certainly not enough, and I often find myself frustrated by certain decisions.”
The cabinet — including Ben Gvir — voted unanimously last night to approve airstrikes in Gaza and Lebanon in response to rocket fire, so it was unclear how the national security minister differed from other ministers who have authorized the security policy he was coming out against.
Ben Gvir reissues his yet-to-be-fulfilled threat to quit the government and support the coalition from the opposition.
Still, he makes clear that “toppling the government is not an option.”
“With all its shortcomings, it is one thousand times better and more responsible than the previous government,” Ben Gvir says.
He goes on to blame the opposition for the recent security escalation, writing, “Even when their hands are not at the wheel, they continue to do harm. Their messages have undoubtedly encouraged our enemies to start a military conflict against us.”
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweets that he is “horrified to see the deadly terror attack in the West Bank today, where a mother was critically injured, and her two daughters were killed.”
“Praying for peace as we continue to observe the holidays,” he adds.
Senior Israeli military officers hold a meeting in Israel with the head of a United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon, following a major rocket attack yesterday on northern Israel and Israeli airstrikes in response.
The head of the IDF Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, and the head of the International Cooperation Division, Brig. Gen. Efi Defrin, meet with UNIFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz to discuss “the recent security incidents along the border with Lebanon,” the military says.
Gordin “emphasized the responsibility of the state of Lebanon and its army for any terror activity that takes place in its territory from its territory,” the IDF adds.
מפקד פיקוד הצפון, אלוף אורי גורדין ורח"ט תבל, תא"ל אפי דפרין, נפגשו מוקדם יותר היום עם מפקד יוניפי"ל, הגנרל ארולדו לזארו סאנץ.
בפגישה דנו המפקדים באירועים הביטחוניים האחרונים לאורך הגבול עם לבנון>> pic.twitter.com/AZS2hyOXRw
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) April 7, 2023
Israel is calling on the UN Security Council to condemn this week’s rocket fire from Gaza and Lebanon.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan pens a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in which he writes, “The State of Israel calls on the Security Council to condemn, in the strongest terms, the rocket attacks against innocent Israelis – particularly the barrage of rockets from Lebanon, a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1701 – and to condemn the inflammatory role that terror organizations, such as Hamas, play in causing unrest, inciting violence, and instigating terror.”
Yesterday, Israel had lobbied Security Council members to avoid issuing a statement after an emergency meeting on the latest round of violence, fearing that it would draw an equivalency between Israel and terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon.
“Israel holds the government of Lebanon responsible for all attacks emanating from Lebanese territory and demands that Lebanon fulfills its duties to prevent all hostile activity from its territory,” Erdan writes to Guterres.
“Israel condemns in the strongest terms the attempts by terrorist groups in Lebanon to infringe upon its sovereignty in blatant violation of Security Council resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006). Israel will not accept any violation of its sovereignty and security, and will take all necessary steps to protect its citizens.”
The Israel Defense Forces says a “non-rocket projectile” was launched toward Israel, but fell short in an open area inside the Gaza Strip.
The launch triggered rocket alarms in some open areas inside Israel, the army says.
The army statement follows reports about an hour ago of mortar fire from Gaza failing to reach Israel.
General Yehuda Fox vows to capture the terrorists behind a deadly West Bank shooting attack that left two sisters dead and their mother in critical condition.
“This is an extremely severe attack. We’ll settle the score with these terrorists too, we’re hunting them and will catch them,” says Fox, who commands troops in the West Bank, visiting the scene of the shooting in the Jordan Valley.
Fox adds that troop levels in the West Bank have been bolstered significantly to protect settlements and roadways between settler enclaves.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich indicates to supporters that his patience for his government is running thin in light of its handling of Palestinian terror.
“The fact that checkpoints around Nablus are open is an intolerable crime. We’ve been speaking about this for weeks. I try very hard to be loyal to outward appearances and not attack the government I am a member of, but it can’t continue like this,” he writes on WhatsApp, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
The hawkish head of the Religious Zionism party, who sits on the security cabinet charged with deciding on military operations, also accuses the IDF of being “held hostage” by operational doctrines relevant for the Oslo peace process, saying Israel is not free of complicity in the slaying of its citizens.
Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem is challenging Israel’s ability to fight his group after Palestinian groups fire rockets at Israel from south Lebanon, sparking reprisal bombings.
“The Zionist attempts to threaten and frighten us will not succeed, the deterrent balance remains in place,” he says in a statement carried by Hezbollah mouthpiece al-Manar.
The deterrent balance refers to a chilly but mostly peaceful standoff between Israel and Hezbollah in south Lebanon, maintained since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, with neither side seeking a return to battle, but both also vowing readiness to do so.
Following a security assessment, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant orders security bolstered in all roads and communities across the country following the deadly West Bank attack and a major multifront flareup.
Gallant’s office says he got updates about the investigation into the Jordan Valley shooting and the efforts to locate and arrest the perpetrators.
The assessment is attended by IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, the heads of the Shin Bet and Mossad agencies and other senior military commanders.
A 7-year-old girl is in critical condition after a tree fell on her in her yard in southern Israel.
The girl suffers head injuries, and paramedics on the scene are attempting to resuscitate her, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.
Noon prayers end at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, with over 130,000 Muslims making their way home after a largely peaceful ordeal.
However, as the prayer nears its conclusion, hundreds of people gather and wave Hamas and Palestinian flags, calling chants supporting a deadly terror attack in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley in which two Israeli sisters were killed.
Some also praised Lebanon, from where dozens of rockets were launched yesterday at Israel in the worst cross-border violence since 2006.
The number of worshippers was far lower than the previous two Ramadan Fridays, with Israel significantly limiting who it allowed in this week amid the security escalation.
The Hamas terror group praises the deadly shooting in the Jordan Valley, calling it “a natural response to the occupation’s ongoing crimes against Al-Aqsa Mosque and its barbaric aggression against Lebanon and the steadfast Gaza.”
Hamas warns Israel against “continuing its crimes against Al-Aqsa Mosque,” in the statement.
Hamas says the site must remain “purely Islamic, with no place for occupation or [Israeli] sovereignty.”
Police and the Shin Bet security service say they arrested six people suspected of throwing rocks at buses traveling on roads in the Negev, according to a statement.
The suspects are residents of the southern Bedouin town of Hura and include five minors and a 22-year-old man. They allegedly carried out several attacks in March, intending to hurt Jews.
A police investigation reveals that some of the suspects were used as observers, while others took on the role of throwing the rocks.
The Beersheba Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of the suspects, and an indictment is set to be filed against them at the beginning of next week.
Military chief Herzi Halevi has instructed the Israel Defense Forces to call up an unspecified number of reservist soldiers amid heightened tensions across the region.
In a statement following an assessment, Halevi says the call-up will be focused on air defense units and the “air attack arrays,” meaning fighter jet pilots and attack drone operators, as well as other aircrew.
Halevi also instructs the IDF to strengthen defenses in the Central Command, following a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank.
The IDF is currently searching for the suspects who carried out the attack, which left two sisters dead and their mother critically hurt.
Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion regional council and of the Yesha settler umbrella group, demands harsher government action against terrorism after a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.
“There is an enemy here trying to establish a state in the heart of our land, this is their motivation,” he says in a statement. “This must stop. Our expectation is not from the soldiers in the field and not from commanders, but from policy-makers, to destroy the hope of the enemy.”
Likud MK Etty Atia says it’s time for “comprehensive activity in the territories.”
Fellow Likud lawmaker Keti Shitrit says the current situation is “intolerable and cannot continue,” adding: “We have a duty to restore security and take tough and effective measures in order to restore deterrence. Praying for better days.”
Likud MK Dan Illouz says: “At this time we all must stand together for the State of Israel. My heart is with the families. We will not surrender to terror. A tough response is needed against the terror.”
Elisha Yered, the spokesperson for Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech, announces that he is resigning due to what he says is the government’s “weak security policy, which is costing us in blood.”
The EU’s ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev condemns the deadly West Bank shooting attack in which two sisters were killed and their mother was critically injured.
“Horrifying news of shooting attack in Jordan Valley, West Bank: two young Israeli women killed, one is critically wounded,” he tweets.
“Condolences to the families of the victims, wishes for speedy recovery to the injured. I strongly condemn the terror attack! Violence is never justified,” he writes.
The two women in their 20s killed in the Jordan Valley terror attack are sisters, and their mother is the third victim who is in critical condition, the mayor of the Efrat settlement says in a statement.
Oded Revivi says the family is from Efrat. The father was driving a separate car ahead of the rest of the family, and turned around following the attack, witnessing the medical treatment of his wife and daughters.
The Efrat Local Council is accompanying the family members in coordination with welfare officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says the premier is being updated on the details of the deadly terror attack in the northern Jordan Valley.
Netanyahu will hold a security assessment shortly, his office adds.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid writes today is “painful and black” following a deadly shooting in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.
“Two young women were murdered in the Valley. Another woman is fighting for her life. The price of terror is heavy and heartbreaking,” he tweets. “I pray with all the people of Israel for the woman’s life and send warm condolences to the families who lost their loved ones today in the valley.”
Lapid expresses confidence that security forces will capture the gunmen and that terrorism “will not beat us.”
National Unity party chair Benny Gantz also sends his well-wishes to the grieving families, praying for “the full recovery of the wounded woman.”
“I have no doubt security forces will reach the vile murders and those that sent them,” he tweets.
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai calls on licensed gun owners to carry them after two Israelis were killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley and a third was critically injured.
“This is a murderous attack that reminds us how serious the threat of hostile activity is,” Shabtai says.
Shabtai also comments on recent clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, stressing the role of security forces to ensure freedom of worship as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday of Passover coincide.
“The motivation to disturb the peace has risen in recent days, and is a result of unrelenting incitement,” he says. “We should continue with wise and targeted activity against anyone who disrupts the order, and on the other hand continue to allow freedom of worship for everyone and preserve channels of discourse and dialogue.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will hold an assessment shortly with senior defense and military officials following the deadly shooting attack in the West Bank, his office says.
In the attack in the northern Jordan Valley, two women were killed and a third was critically wounded.
The third victim of the deadly shooting attack in the northern Jordan Valley is being taken to hospital in critical condition, medics say.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are taking the 45-year-old woman by helicopter to the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.
Two women in their 20s were declared dead at the scene, MDA says.
Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani calls the deadly shooting attack near the Hamra settlement “a very serious incident.”
Speaking with Channel 12 news, Elhayani says the apparent terror attack, in which two women were killed and a third seriously injured, “has far-reaching implications.
Two Israeli women have been killed and another Israeli is seriously wounded in the shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Hamra in the northern West Bank, officials say.
According to the ZAKA emergency service and local officials, two of the three victims in the attack have died.
The military says troops are searching for suspects who opened fire at the car, causing it to crash.
Three people are seriously hurt in a vehicular crash in the West Bank that according to the IDF involved gunfire and was being treated as a Palestinian shooting attack.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are treating three people wounded in a car following the collision on the Route 57 highway, near the Hamra Junction.
The service says that the crash may have been caused following a shooting attack.
The Israel Defense Forces confirms this, saying forces have launched a manhunt for suspects who opened fire at the Israeli-owned car.
The Home Front Command has lifted restrictions on residents of towns close to the border with the Gaza Strip.
Earlier this morning, the military instructed residents to remain close to bomb shelters, anticipating further rocket attacks from Gaza.
Local officials tell residents that the restrictions have now been lifted.
Several Hebrew media outlets cite anonymous Israeli estimates that unless more projectiles are launched at Israel, the current round of fighting might be over.
The soldier who was injured yesterday in a Palestinian shooting attack near the Geva Binyamin settlement, north of Jerusalem, is in stable condition, the capital’s Shaare Zedek hospital says.
His condition is defined as light to moderate, and he is expected to undergo surgery to remove shrapnel from his body, the medical center says.
Some local leaders in the south criticize the government for what they view as insufficient action against Gazan terrorists who have been barraging their towns with rockets, including over 40 during the night.
“We must put it on the table — there are no dead terrorists in Gaza,” says Alon Davidi, mayor of the town of Sderot which is among the most targeted areas and where a house was directly hit overnight. “This means that this policy of granting immunity to terrorists who are making our lives miserable is continuing.
“I understand that the reality is complicated because this is happening in Lebanon and in our area, but this rocket isn’t the first. For months, we have been in a reality of ‘trickles’ [of rocket fire],” he says.
“To change this equation, we must do other things. It’s time for the government and the prime minister to adopt a policy of eliminating them,” he demands, noting the wide-scale anti-terror campaign going on for many months in the West Bank.
Several other mayors of local and regional councils in the south are quoted by Hebrew media as saying that only targeted assassinations of Gazan terror operatives will “restore deterrence.”
Tamir Idan, head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, says the “measured response” overnight “doesn’t restore deterrence and conveys a bad message to terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon.” He too urges targeted killings and says he expects “decisive and painful” action soon.
Police say that after the Muslim morning prayers today at the Temple Mount, hundreds of people began chanting inciting slogans and that at one point, masked rioters started hurling rocks toward the Mughrabi Gate, from where Jews and tourists are allowed to enter the compound on weekdays — but not on Fridays.
Police say one of the rocks almost hit a Muslim woman, who fell over as a result.
Police entered several meters into the Temple Mount compound through the gate, and the rioters dispersed immediately without any need for the use of force, police added.
Police published footage from the incident, including of the rioters gathering rocks.
As a results of the rock throwing, police entered inside a few meters from the Mughrabi Gate, and used measures meant to disperse the rioters who were endangering the public. In the last hour it had been quiet on location pic.twitter.com/TUaTwEmg9w
— Israel Police (@israelpolice) April 7, 2023
The Lebanese Army says it has located several rockets prepared for launch in southern Lebanon.
In a tweet, the Lebanese Army says units located a launcher with a number of unlaunched rockets in the Marjeyoun District.
Yesterday, around three dozen rockets were launched into Israel from Lebanon, in attacks blamed on the Hamas terror group.
— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) April 7, 2023
A mother of a nine-month-old girl whose home was hit by a rocket in Sderot overnight tells reporters she intends to move away from the city due to the bombardment from the Gaza Strip.
“For us, it means leaving Sderot now. I don’t want to raise my daughter in a situation that destroys her mental health already at nine months old,” Sherry Vazana tells the Ynet news site.
Though none of the family members were harmed, the rocket caused damage to the home’s lounge area and knocked the electricity out, she says.
שרי וזאנה משדרות שביתה נפגע הלילה מטיל: "ישנו בממד. ניצלנו. אני אעזוב את שדרות כבר מחר. לא רוצה לגדל את הבת שלי במצב הזה וכבר בגיל 9 חודשים להרוס את נפשה". pic.twitter.com/cJKtIh4tkS
— matan tzuri מתן צורי (@MatanTzuri) April 7, 2023
*דוברות עיריית שדרות*
בהמשך לדיווחים על פגיעה בבית בשדרות מהרקטות שנורו לפני כמחצית השעה, בית בשכונה ותיקה נפגע, אך טרם ידוע מה הפריט שגרם לפגיעה. כוחות משטרה ועירייה סורקים את האזור.
נגרם נזק לגג ולרכוש, אין נפגעים בגוף. צוותי חוסן ורווחה של עיריית… pic.twitter.com/GF81yqKN3J
— בז news (@1717Bazz) April 7, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces is bolstering the Southern Command and Northern Command with additional infantry and artillery forces, military spokesman Daniel Hagari says.
In a Twitter post, Hagari says the decision to bolster forces was made following a recent assessment and in order “to strengthen defenses for possible scenarios.”
“The forces are at a high level of readiness in the north, in the south, and in [the West Bank]… in order to respond to sudden events and attempts to harm residents,” he says.
“The IDF is capable, ready and prepared to carry out its missions,” Hagari adds.
The Israel Defense Forces says 44 projectiles, including rockets and anti-aircraft missiles, were launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel overnight.
In a briefing with reporters, military spokesman Daniel Hagari says nine of the rockets failed to cross the border and fell short in the Palestinian enclave, 12 were fired toward the sea, 14 landed in open areas in Israel, one landed in a populated area in the southern city of Sderot, and eight were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.
Hagari says the Israeli Air Force struck over ten Hamas targets in Gaza in response to renewed rocket attacks on the south, using around 50 tons of munitions.
Regarding the IAF strikes against Hamas targets in Lebanon, Hagari says “the state of Lebanon is considered responsible for everything that happens in its territory, and even for the firing [of rockets] by Hamas Palestinian factions, we will not allow Hamas to operate from Lebanon.”
The Israel Defense Forces instruct residents of towns near the border with the Gaza Strip to remain close to bomb shelters until further notice, as the military anticipates intensifying rocket attacks.
Residents are instructed to stay in the protected space for 10 minutes after hearing a rocket siren, says the military
Military spokesman Daniel Hagari tells reporters that the IDF will conduct a new assessment at 8 a.m. and decide whether or not the order will remain in place.
Meanwhile, the IDF says it has targeted a series of observation posts belonging to the Hamas terror group along the border with the Gaza Strip, in response to renewed rocket fire.
A fresh round of rocket sirens are sounding across southern Israeli cities and towns, after a brief lull.
Incoming rocket alerts are heard in Sderot, Ibim, Nir Am, Mefalsim, Gavim, Nachal Oz, and Alumim.
The military does not immediately provide further details.
Overnight, around 40 rockets were reportedly launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel amid Israeli airstrikes in response to earlier attacks.
A home in one of Sderot’s oldest neighborhood is found to have sustained damage in the overnight salvo from the Gaza Strip, the Sderot municipality says.
It is not immediately clear if the damage was caused by rocket shrapnel, but medics say it appears to be the cause.
A mother and her daughter who stayed in a protected room in the home were unharmed, Magen David Adom medics say.
Tensions are running high at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the flashpoint Temple Mount site, Islam’s third-holiest site, where thousands of Muslim worshippers are gathering for Friday prayers during the holy month of Ramadan, following a long night of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip and a rare strike in Lebanon overnight.
According to reports in the Hebrew media, Palestinian worshippers at the site were calling to support the “resistance,” a reference to terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza.
Palestinian worshipers held a protest at the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem following Fajer prayer.#AlAqsaUnderAttack #AlAqsaMosqueUnderAttack #FreePalestine ????????#IsraeliTerrorists #IsraelIsATerrorState #SaveAlAqsaMosque #SaveAlAqsa #IsraeliCrimes… pic.twitter.com/SDp0CuN8TP
— Mona (@ML35209678) April 7, 2023
Israeli security forces expect some 100,000 worshippers at the Temple Mount over the course of Friday.
Overnight, Israel struck multiple sites in the Palestinian enclave, including weapon production sites and tunnels serving Hamas, hours after a barrage of rockets from Gaza and from Lebanon on Thursday.
Israel hit “terror infrastructure” belonging to Hamas in southern Lebanon in the early hours of Friday morning. The group has a presence in southern Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps.
UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping outfit deployed along the buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon, says the Israel Defense Forces informed the force that it will begin “an artillery response” to Thursday’s rocket launches into Israel from Lebanon.
UNIFIL says its personnel soon heard loud explosions around the city of Tyre in southern Israel and that the head of mission and force commander, Major General Aroldo Lázaro, was speaking with authorities on both sides.
“Both sides have said they do not want a war,” UNIFIL says in a statement, warning that the “actions over the past day are dangerous and risk a serious escalation.”
The military say Israeli Air Force jets hit additional targets in the Gaza Strip amid ongoing airstrikes in the Palestinian enclave.
Fighter jets took out a shaft for an underground weapons production site, three other sites for weapons manufacturing and a terrorist tunnel, belonging to terror organization Hamas, the military says.
These attacks disrupt Hamas’s ability to “strengthen and arm itself,” the military says, adding that the terror group “bears responsibility” for recent events and “is the one that will pay the price for the security violations against the State of Israel.”
Israel has been striking Gaza overnight and launched a rare strike in Lebanon less than two hours ago, following a day of rocket barrages from the Palestinian enclave and from Lebanon territory on Thursday.
Nearly three dozen rockets were launched at Israel from Lebanon on Thursday afternoon, most of them intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
Rocket sirens are sounding in the southern Israeli towns of Sderot, Ibim and Nir Am, amid ongoing military airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has been targeting multiple sites in the Palestinian enclave and in Lebanon in response to rocket barrages from both territories on Thursday.
The military a short while ago said it struck multiple targets including “terrorist infrastructure” belonging to terror group Hamas in southern Lebanon.
“The IDF will not allow the Hamas terrorist organization to operate from within Lebanon and holds the state of Lebanon responsible for every directed fire emanating from its territory,” the military says.
Amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, a rocket siren is sounding in the town of Yated, near the Palestinian enclave.
There are no immediate reports of an incoming rocket, injuries, or damage.
The military says details are under review.
The military says it is striking in the Gaza Strip, following a long night of attacks on Hamas targets in the Palestinian enclave and in southern Lebanon.
The IDF launched strikes a short while ago in Lebanon, hours after a barrage of 34 rockets were launched at northern Israel Thursday afternoon.
At least three explosions are heard in southern Lebanon’s Tyre region at dawn, according to AFP reporters, as Israel announces it is carrying out strikes in response to rocket fire.
“At least two shells fell near” a Palestinian refugee camp near Tyre city, says camp resident Abu Ahmad, who tells AFP he “heard explosions.”
The Israeli military says it attacked a number of targets belonging to the Palestinian terror group Hamas in southern Lebanon.
The IDF hit “infrastructure targets” and other sites of the terror organization, the military says in a statement.
“The IDF will not allow the terrorist organization Hamas to operate from Lebanon and considers the state of Lebanon responsible for all fire from its territory,” the military says.
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