The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they unfolded.
Israeli military says it’s striking in Syria in response to rocket attacks
The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out artillery strikes in southern Syria, targeting the area from which six rockets were launched at Israel.
The IDF does not immediately provide further details on the strikes.
IDF: 3 more rockets fired from Syria, one intercepted by Iron Dome; no casualties
Three rockets have been fired from southern Syria at Israeli towns in the Golan Heights, the Israel Defense Forces says.
According to the IDF, one of the projectiles is intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while another landed in an open area near the towns of Natur and Avnei Eitan. The third projectile apparently fell short in Syria.
There are no reports of injuries or damage in the rocket attack, which comes hours after another three rockets were launched from Syria at the Golan.
Sirens sound again in Golan Heights; reports say 2 projectiles fired, no casualties
Rocket sirens blare once again in the Golan Heights, hours after three rockets were fired toward Israel from Syria.
The military says alerts have sounded in Kibbutz Natur and Moshav Avnei Eitan in the southern Golan Heights.
Initial unconfirmed details indicate that three projectiles were launched into Israel, with two falling in open areas and the third being intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. No casualties are immediately reported.
Jordan accuses Israel of trying to ‘fabricate the facts’ on Al-Aqsa standoff
Jordan rejects Israel’s demand to evacuate Palestinians who have barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, accusing Jerusalem of trying to “fabricate the facts” regarding the issue.
Israel says the Palestinians intend to attack Jews visiting the holy site in the morning, as well as masses expected to show up for the traditional Priestly Blessing prayer for Passover at the adjacent Western Wall.
Jordanian media cites a senior official saying the Israeli demand is an attempt to “put the responsibility on the Waqf for the dangerous escalation stemming from Israel’s attacks on worshipers.”
The unnamed official says Amman has refused to accept Israeli messages conveyed through mediators, adding that it will accept direct messages from Jerusalem if they include promises to “stop violating the status quo, stop the attacks on worshipers and cancel the restrictions on freedom of worship.”
Israel urges Jordanian Waqf to remove ‘dangerous mob’ holing up in Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israel urges Jordan’s Waqf authorities to “immediately remove” Palestinians who have barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and are preparing to clash with police and Jews visiting the site and attending the traditional Passover Priestly Blessing at the adjacent Western Wall in the morning.
The Foreign Ministry issues a strongly worded statement in response to Jordan warning Israel to avoid a violent evacuation of those holed up inside the mosque and claiming this would only lead to greater violence.
“Those who desecrate the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and barricade themselves inside it are a dangerous mob, radicalized and incited by Hamas and other terror organizations,” the ministry says.
“We call on Jordan, through the Waqf guards, to immediately remove from the Al-Aqsa Mosque these extremists who are planning to riot tomorrow during Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount and the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall.”
All clear given in Asael settlement after suspected infiltration alarm sounded earlier
An all-clear is given to residents of the southern West Bank settlement of Asael, after a suspected infiltration alarm sounded there earlier.
The alarms sounded after gunfire was heard in the area. There are no reports of injuries or damage.
Medics: 5 wounded in shooting in Jerusalem; police say incident apparently not terror
Five people have been wounded in a shooting on Dov Yosef Street near the Gilo and Beit Safafa neighborhoods of Jerusalem, the Magen David Adom ambulance service says.
MDA says one of the victims is listed in serious condition, three are in moderate condition, and one is lightly injured.
Police say the background of the shooting appears to be criminal, and not a terror attack. MDA says it appears to be a fight between rival Arab clans.
הירי בגילה: ההערכה היא כי מדובר בסכסוך בין חמולות. בתיעוד – רגעי הקטטה@HGoldich pic.twitter.com/OhM4VY4Ivp
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) April 8, 2023
Gallant speaks with US counterpart Austin on terror attacks, rockets and Iran
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke by phone this evening with his American counterpart, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, his office says.
“Gallant briefed Secretary Austin on the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, and the missiles fired by Palestinian terror groups from both Gaza and Lebanese territory, with the backing of Iran,” a readout from Gallant’s office says.
“He detailed the ongoing efforts of the defense establishment to thwart terrorism and respond effectively to any threat toward Israeli citizens and troops,” the statement continues.
“Gallant also raised the defense establishment’s efforts to enable freedom of prayer at the Temple Mount, which is hijacked by groups of extreme rioters,” he says, referring to recent clashes between police and Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
“He concluded by thanking Secretary Austin for his friendship and partnership and solidarity with Israel’s right to defend itself,” the statement adds.
Netanyahu invites opposition leader Lapid for security update
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has invited opposition leader Yair Lapid for a security briefing, his office says in a brief statement.
The update would come as tensions soared across the region, with a rocket attack from Syria tonight; a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday; tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week; clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; deadly terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank; as well as a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria earlier in the week.
Alarm sounding in southern West Bank settlement following reports of gunfire in area
A suspected infiltration alarm is sounding in the southern West Bank settlement of Asael, following reports of gunfire heard in the area.
The Home Front Command instructs residents to remain in their homes and lock their doors and windows until further notice.
There are no reports of injuries in the shooting. Security forces are scanning the area.
Hundreds of people barricade themselves inside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque
Hundreds of people are barricading themselves inside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque Saturday night and preparing for confrontations with the Israel Police, according to multiple media reports.
Police had said earlier they expected the unrest, with the Hamas terror group claiming that Jews were going “to assail the Western Wall” tomorrow — as part of Passover’s priestly blessing — while claiming Al-Aqsa is in danger.
Jordan is warning Israel to avoid a violent evacuation of those holed up inside the mosque, saying this will only lead to greater violence.
Scenes of violent clashes inside the mosque earlier this week are believed to have instigated further violence in Israel and the West Bank and were followed by rocket barrages from both Gaza and south Lebanon.
Palestinian man said shot dead by IDF troops in West Bank
A young Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces in the West Bank, Palestinian health officials say.
According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, 20-year-old Ayed Azzam Salim was shot by soldiers near the town of Azzun.
There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the incident.
#صورة الشهيد عايد عزام سليم الذي أستشهد متأثراً بإصابته برصاص جيش الاحتلال عند مدخل بلدة عزون شرق قلقيلية. pic.twitter.com/2g5MzgD0IE
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) April 8, 2023
IDF says three rockets launched from Syria at Golan Heights, with one landing in Israeli territory
The Israel Defense Forces says three rockets were launched from Syria at the Golan Heights a short while ago.
One of the rockets crossed the border and landed in an open area near the northern Israeli town of Meitsar.
The other two projectiles apparently fell short in Syria, with some reports suggesting one landed in Jordan.
The Iron Dome air defense system was not used as the projectiles were headed for an unpopulated area, the IDF says.
Alert activated near town in Golan Heights; reports say 2 rockets fired from Syria
The Israel Defense Forces says an incoming rocket alert was activated in an open area near the northern Israeli town of Meitsar in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria.
The IDF says the cause is still under review.
Hebrew-language media reports say at least two rockets were fired from Syria.
Local residents say they heard explosions.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
IDF to deploy additional forces to West Bank amid heightened tensions
The Israel Defense Forces says it will be further bolstering forces in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley, and the so-called seam zone — an area of land between the West Bank security barrier and Israel — following recent terror attacks.
The forces are set to be deployed starting Sunday, the IDF said. It was not immediately clear how many troops would be deployed.
On Friday, IDF chief Herzi Halevi ordered to bolster forces in the Central Command after a deadly terror attack in the Jordan Valley.
The IDF will also assist police in the Tel Aviv area, following orders by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The number of troops set to be deployed to the Police Central District has yet to be determined.
Sisters killed in West Bank shooting to be buried Sunday at Kfar Ezion cemetery
Sisters 20-year-old Maia Dee and 15-year-old Rina Dee, who were killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on Friday, will be buried tomorrow afternoon at the cemetery of the Kfar Ezion settlement.
In a statement, the Gush Etzion regional council says the procession will begin at 4:15 p.m. in the settlement of Efrat, where the sisters lived.
Mourners will march to the Kfar Ezion cemetery, where the Dee sisters will be buried at 5 p.m.
“Residents are asked to stand with flags on the side of the road and accompany them on their final journey,” the statement says.
The sisters’ mother, Lucy, 48, remains hospitalized in critical condition after being wounded in the attack.
Minute of silence held for terror victims at anti-overhaul protests
Anti-overhaul protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem tonight both begin with a minute’s silence for the three terror victims killed in two separate attacks on Friday.
Sisters 20-year-old Maya Dee and 15-year-old Rina Dee from the West Bank settlement of Efrat were killed in a shooting attack near the settlement of Hamra in the northern West Bank.
Hours later, Italian national Alessandro Parini, a 35-year-old lawyer from Rome, was killed in a ramming attack in Tel Aviv.
דקה דומיה בבית הנשיא. pic.twitter.com/EhtcX7Oqyc
— The Black (@beersehva) April 8, 2023
Police chief, Ben Gvir clash on banning Jewish visits to Temple Mount on last days of Ramadan
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir are clashing over a potential ban for Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the final days of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
According to Channel 12 news, police chief Kobi Shabtai supports preventing Jewish visits to the Mount from Wednesday through the last 10 days of Ramadan, as has been standard practice in the past to prevent friction with Muslim worshipers.
Ben Gvir, a far-right advocate of Jewish rights on the Mount, says he opposes the move, asserting that it “will be a surrender to terrorism.”
Tomorrow is expected to be particularly sensitive in Jerusalem, where thousands of Jewish worshipers are expected to take part in the traditional priestly blessing at the Western Wall as part of the Passover holiday.
Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said in an assessment earlier today the Hamas terror group is “threatening the priestly blessing with the claim that Jews are going ‘to assail the Western Wall’ while claiming Al-Aqsa is in danger.”
Turgeman says police will act to “allow freedom of worship and enable Muslims to pray [at Al-Aqsa]… The ones harming worship are Hamas and other inciting elements.”
Maia and Rina Dee named as victims of Friday terror shooting in West Bank
Two sisters from the West Bank settlement of Efrat who were shot dead in a terror attack on Friday are named as 20-year-old Maia Dee, and 15-year-old Rina Dee.
Their mother Lucy, 48, remains hospitalized in critical condition, the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem says.
The United Kingdom Foreign Office confirmed Friday that the three were British nationals. Family members from the UK are reportedly heading to Israel tonight.
In the Friday attack near the settlement of Hamra in the northern Jordan Valley, the Palestinian gunmen first opened fire at the Israeli-owned car before it crashed into the highway’s shoulder. The terrorists then opened fire at the car again, killing the two sisters and critically wounding their mother. Troops scanning the area found 22 7.62mm shell casings, typically used by a Kalashnikov rifle.
Crowds begin to gather outside President’s Residence in Jerusalem for weekly anti-overhaul protest
Crowds begin to gather in Jerusalem for the weekly protest against the government’s contentious judicial overhaul.
The rally outside the President’s Residence is set to start at 8:45 p.m. to allow Shabbat-observant protesters to attend.
Speakers will include former Blue and White MK Tehila Friedman, whose 11-minute maiden speech in parliament in 2020 — a tearful plea for unity in Israel and against hatred — went viral.
Tens of thousands gather in Tel Aviv for weekly anti-overhaul rally
Tens of thousands of people are currently gathered in Tel Aviv for a weekly rally against the government’s judicial overhaul plans.
Images show massive crowds at the coastal city’s Kaplan Street.
ההפגנה נכון ל 20:10
המפגינים פורשים שלט עם דיוקנו של נתניהו כפרעה עם הכיתוב "Let my people go" pic.twitter.com/l478ApHrc7
— Tomer Appelbaum (@tomerappelbaum) April 8, 2023
WATCH: Thousands gather in Tel Aviv for weekly anti-government protest
Thousands of people are gathering on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv for a weekly protest against the government’s judicial overhaul plans.
Channel 12 news is live-streaming footage from the rally below.
Gallant orders IDF to bolster police forces in central Israel, extend West Bank closure over Passover
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has ordered the Israel Defense Forces to bolster police forces in the Central District, following a series of terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank.
The number of troops that will be assisting police in central Israel will be decided by law enforcement and military officials, Gallant’s office says.
Additionally, Gallant has ordered the IDF to extend a closure on West Bank and Gaza Strip crossings for Palestinians.
The closure, during the first days of the Passover holiday, was initially meant to last from 5 p.m. Wednesday until Saturday evening, with another closure on the last day of Passover beginning on April 11 and lasting until April 12.
Following an assessment, Gallant ordered the closure to be extended until midnight between April 12 and 13.
The closure will also prevent West Bank and Gazan Palestinians from entering Israel for prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Israel had announced it was easing restrictions for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, to allow some Palestinians into Israel without permits.
National Security Adviser says response to Hamas rocket fire ‘not weak’ and not the end of it
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi in an interview with Channel 12 news says the Israeli military’s response against targets of the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon following rocket fire from both areas, was “not weak.”
“If it was weak, we would’ve seen a response by Hamas and Hezbollah on the significant strikes in Gaza and Lebanon. The targets in Lebanon were chosen in a way that won’t force a response,” Hanegbi says.
“We struck in Lebanon and there wasn’t a response,” he says. “The same thing in Gaza, there was a significant attack against a number of targets. They did not react, which shows the deterrence is there,” Hanegbi claims, despite Palestinian terrorists launching 44 rockets at Israel following the airstrikes.
“Those who assume that the account is closed, are assuming wrong,” he says.
“We know the account is still open over a number of brazen and daring developments,” Hanegbi adds, apparently referring to a bombing attack in northern Israel last month, which Israel suspects Hezbollah was involved in.
Crowds begin to gather on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street for 14th week in row of protests
Hundreds of people are beginning to gather on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street for the 14th week in a row of protests against the government’s planned judicial overhaul.
Previous weeks have seen nearly 200,000 people participate in the rally in Tel Aviv.
שבת 14 להפגנות נגד המהפכה המשפטית. קפלן (19:15)
???? אור אדר pic.twitter.com/j4aJt71XCH
— אדם קוטב | adam kutub (@adam_kutub) April 8, 2023
‘Silent march’ held in Rehovot in memory of terror victims
Anti-overhaul protesters are holding a “silent march” in the central city of Rehovot, Channel 12 news reports.
The march is held in memory of three people killed in suspected terror attacks on Friday, in Tel Aviv and in the West Bank.
"צעדה שקטה" ברחובות לזכר הנרצחים: המחאות מתקיימות בצל הפיגועים | אלה החסימות https://t.co/SjFE9ZEWKh pic.twitter.com/cTK2WN8QOZ
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) April 8, 2023
Lebanese Army find more rockets aimed at Israel from Thursday’s attack
The Lebanese Army says it has located several more rockets prepared for launch in southern Lebanon.
In a tweet, the Lebanese Army says units located launchers and a number of unlaunched rockets in the Qlaileh area.
On Thursday, around three dozen rockets were launched into Israel from Lebanon, in attacks blamed on the Hamas terror group.
Since then, the Lebanese Army has found several rockets prepared for launch across southern Lebanon.
عثرت وحدة من الجيش في سهل القليلة على منصات صواريخ وعدد من الصواريخ التي كانت قد أعِدّت للإطلاق منذ أيام، ويجري العمل على تفكيكها.#الجيش_اللبناني #LebaneseArmy pic.twitter.com/gEDBnCZkMT
— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) April 8, 2023
Tel Aviv residents lay flowers at site of deadly car-ramming attack
People in Tel Aviv gather and lay flowers at the site where Alessandro Parini, an Italian tourist, was killed in a car-ramming attack last night.
Authorities said Parini was killed and seven other Italian and British citizens were wounded when an Arab Israeli man rammed his car into them near a promenade in the coastal city.
A spokesperson for the Shin Bet security agency tells The Times of Israel that the car-ramming is being investigated as a terror attack.
MDA calls to donate blood at site of last night’s car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv
The Magen David Adom ambulance service is calling on the public to donate blood at the site of last night’s suspected terror attack in Tel Aviv, near Charles Clore Park.
MDA spokesman Zaki Heller says the call is “due to the shortage of blood units over the holidays.”
The blood drive will be open till 9:30 p.m., he says.
“Magen David Adom calls on the public to come and donate,” Heller adds.
In last night’s car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, an Italian tourist, Alessandro Parini, was killed, and seven others were wounded.
Blood drive happening right now at the site of last night’s terror attack in Tel Aviv.
The blood drive is open until 21:30 this evening. pic.twitter.com/XYciwgwoWf
— Magen David Adom (@Mdais) April 8, 2023
Police close roads as anti-overhaul protests set to begin in Tel Aviv, other cities
Police close main roads in central Tel Aviv as a major anti-government rally is set to begin in the coastal city this evening.
Several more large demonstrations are anticipated in other cities around the country, including outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem and near a shopping area in Haifa.
Tens of thousands of people are expected at the main protest on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv.
Organizers say the protests will go ahead as planned in the wake of several deadly terror attacks and violence, but that they have agreed to a police request to cancel a march through the city streets.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been holding huge protests in Tel Aviv and nationwide against the government’s judicial overhaul plans every Saturday for the last 14 weeks, with demonstrations carrying on after the coalition paused the legislation to allow a period of dialogue on its highly divisive efforts to weaken the justice system.
ממתינים לכם! pic.twitter.com/HNepYhnVhM
— ishay hadas ישי הדס crime minister (@ishayhadas) April 8, 2023
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