An Israeli airstrike killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 2-year-old daughter in Gaza Sunday, a Gaza health official said, while in the West Bank, a Palestinian woman detonated an explosive in her car at a checkpoint, injuring an Israeli soldier and herself.
The attack appears to mark the first use of explosives in the current round of violence following a series of stabbing and shooting attacks. The violence has unnerved a jittery Israel, and prompted the U.S. on Saturday to issue a fresh call for restraint by all sides.
The wave of attacks began weeks ago 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. Ashraf Al-Kidra, a Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza, 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 31-year-old Palestinian woman set off an explosive in her vehicle that lightly wounded a police officer and critically injured 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 the bomb.
On Saturday, Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem 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.
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.
The violence, including an apparent revenge attack in which an Israeli stabbed and wounded four Arabs on Friday, has raised fears of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising. There have also been multiple protests inside Israel from the country's own Arab minority, with masked demonstrators clashing with police forces.
Since the latest wave of unrest began this month, eight Palestinians have been killed while carrying out attacks and 13 have been killed in protests and clashes in the West Bank and Gaza. The Red Crescent medical service says over 500 Palestinians have been wounded in violent protests in the West Bank, including about 100 from live fire.
At the start of the month, Palestinians shot two Israeli settlers to death in front of their children in the West Bank. In a separate incident, a Palestinian wielding a knife killed two Israeli men and wounded a mother and toddler in Jerusalem before being shot dead. An Israeli motorist was previously killed when his car was pelted with stones on the eve of the Jewish New Year.