Israel starts calling up reservists after deadly attacks

Israel “struck targets, including terror infrastructures, belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation in southern Lebanon”, the army said.

In Gaza, Israel’s military said it had hit two tunnels and “two weapon manufacturing sites” in response to the “security violations of Hamas”.

It said air defences had intercepted 25 rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, while five had hit Israeli territory.

Israel “will not allow the Hamas terrorist organisation to operate from within Lebanon”, it said.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which patrols the area along the border, urged restraint, noting: “Both sides have said they do not want a war.”

On Friday evening, the army said it had shot down a drone that entered Israel’s airspace from Lebanon.

Mosque raid

On Wednesday, Israeli riot police stormed the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa mosque in a pre-dawn raid, aiming to dislodge “law-breaking youths and masked agitators” they said had barricaded themselves inside.

Ramadan coincided with the Jewish Passover holiday this year, raising tensions with the tens of thousands of Palestinians who pray at Al-Aqsa during the Muslim fasting month.

The Palestinians fear Mr Netanyahu’s hard-right government may change longstanding rules that allow Jews to visit but not pray in the mosque compound, despite his repeated denials.

The upsurge of violence drew condemnation from the European Union and the United States.

A Qatari official said Doha was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.

Qatar – which has acted as a broker in previous understandings between Israel and Hamas – “is working to deescalate the situation on all sides,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. AFP

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