Rockets fired from Syria towards Israel in the aftermath of deadly attacks

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Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome air defence system intercepts rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory on April 7, 2023. - Israel launched air strikes before dawn on April 7, 2023 in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, saying it was targeting Hamas in retaliation for several dozen rockets fired at Israel from both territories. The strikes were launched around 4:30 am Israeli time (0130 GMT), hitting both the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, according to an Israeli army statement. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

On the evening of Saturday April 8, rockets were fired from Syria towards Israel, the Israeli army reported. This is the latest episode of increased violence in the Middle East.

Three rockets were fired Saturday (April 8th) evening from Syria into Israel, the Israeli military reported, following similar fire from neighboring Lebanon and the Gaza Strip in recent days.

These shots, not immediately claimed, are the latest episode of increased violence in the Middle East. Two anti-Israeli attacks killed three people on Friday.

One of the rockets fired from Syria “fell in a wasteland in the southern Golan Heights” annexed by Israel, the army said in a short statement, without giving further details.

An unprecedented escalation of violence

These shots follow an unprecedented escalation on the Israeli-Lebanese front since 2006. On Thursday, around 30 rockets were fired from Lebanon towards Israel, injuring one person and causing material damage.

The Israeli army said that the shots, unclaimed, were “Palestinian” , and most likely the Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip.

It retaliated by carrying out strikes on Gaza and southern Lebanon. Israel and Lebanon are technically in a state of war after different conflicts and the ceasefire line is controlled by the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL), deployed in southern Lebanon.

Reinforcements

On Friday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “ordered the police to mobilize all reserve units of the border police, and the [army] to mobilize additional forces” , after an attack on the ram car on the waterfront of Tel Aviv.

An Italian tourist was killed and seven others , aged 17 to 74, injured in the attack, which occurred on a Sabbath evening and during the week of Passover.

Police said the 45-year-old driver who was shot was from the Arab town of Kfar Kassem in central Israel.

Earlier on Friday, two sisters from the Israeli settlement of Efrat, aged 16 and 20 and holders of Israeli and British nationalities, were killed and their mother seriously injured in a Palestinian attack on their car in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory by Israel since 1967.

The Israeli police said four reserve Border Police battalions would be deployed to city centers on Sunday, in addition to the units already mobilized in the mixed city of Lod and in the Jerusalem area.

The Ministry of Defense confirmed on Saturday evening that it was mobilizing soldiers to support the police and announced that it would tighten entry restrictions into Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in particular workers.

Violence on the esplanade of the Mosques

The current outbreak of fever indeed follows violence on Wednesday on the esplanade of the Mosques, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism, also the epicenter of tensions in the Holy City.

The Israeli forces brutally burst inside the Al-Aqsa mosque to dislodge the faithful gathered for night prayers, in the middle of Ramadan, arousing numerous condemnations.

Benjamin Netanyahu said the forces were “forced to act to restore order” in the face of ” extremists  ” barricaded in the mosque. Hamas, which has waged several wars against Israel, denounced an “unprecedented crime” .

Qatar, which has previously mediated between Israel and the ruling Hamas in Gaza, is “working towards de-escalation” , a Qatari official told AFP on Friday , on condition of anonymity.

Since the beginning of January, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of at least 92 Palestinians, 18 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources .

These figures include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.