JERUSALEM – An Israeli airstrike killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 2-year-old daughter in Gaza Sunday, a Gaza health official said. In the West Bank, a Palestinian woman detonated an explosive in her car in the first use of explosives in the current round of violence that has mostly been confined to stabbing and shooting attacks.
The wave of attacks began in Jerusalem and has since spread to the rest of Israel, while violent protests have erupted in the West Bank and along the Gaza border, where nine Palestinians were killed in clashes over the weekend. The Gaza border has been largely calm since the monthlong Summer 2014 war between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the coastal territory.
In response to renewed rocket fire toward Israel, the military said it carried out airstrikes in Gaza targeting Hamas weapons manufacturing facilities. Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Kidra said a nearby home was struck, killing 30-year-old Noor Hassan and her infant daughter. He said four others were wounded, included Hassan's husband and son, in the strike in the southern Gaza strip.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Israeli police say a Palestinian woman set off an explosive in her vehicle that lightly wounded a police officer and critically wounded herself. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the police officer noticed the woman driving suspiciously and motioned her to stop. She then chanted "God is great" and detonated a bomb.
The attack marks the first use of explosives in the current round of violence following a series of stabbing and shooting attacks. Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem on Saturday before being shot dead by police, while another two Palestinian youths were killed near the Gaza border fence, as a weeklong bout of violence showed no signs of slowing.
The violence has unnerved a jittery Israel, and prompted the U.S. on Saturday to issue a fresh call for restraint by all sides.
Recent days have seen a series of attacks by young Palestinians wielding household items like kitchen knives, screwdrivers and even a vegetable peeler. The youths had no known links to armed groups and have seemingly targeted Israeli soldiers and civilians at random, complicating efforts to predict or prevent the attacks.