Six people reported killed in Gaza clashes

Spiral of violence grips the Middle East
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Story highlights

  • Six people die and 30 injured in clashes in Gaza, medical sources say
  • Four Arabs in Dimona, Israel, suffer stab wounds, police say
  • Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu blames "incitement and libels" of Palestinian Authority, Hamas

(CNN)Six people were killed in clashes Friday across Gaza and 30 others were injured, according to Gaza medical sources, as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians continued to grow.

Five of those injured are in critical condition, the sources said.
    The clashes in Gaza follow what has appeared to be a wave of attacks on civilians in Israel.
    And the acrimony seems only to be growing. In the Israeli city of Dimona, in the Negev desert, south of the West Bank, four people were injured with stab wounds Friday morning, a police spokeswoman said.
    The spokeswoman said those injured had been attacked "for nationalist reasons, because they were Arabs."
    The Israel Defense Forces said the clashes in Gaza took place when "200 Palestinians approached the security fence in the Northern Gaza Strip."
    The Palestinians, according to the IDF, began hurling rocks at soldiers and rolling burning tires at them.
    "The forces on site responded with fire on the main instigators in order to prevent them progressing and to disperse the riot."
    Amid the wave of violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday urged Arab and Israeli leaders to stay away from one of the country's holiest sites in an effort to keep tensions from getting out of hand.
    In a televised speech, Netanyahu asked Jewish and Arab political leaders to steer clear of the site Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims the Noble Sanctuary for fear that any visits could spark an "explosive" event. Anger has been brewing among Palestinians over Israeli restrictions on access to the site.
    The site is sacred to both Judaism and Islam and, as such, has become a focal point of discord.
    In other remarks, Netanyahu was more stern and contentious.
    He blamed recent bloodshed on the Palestinian Authority, which has authority in parts of the West Bank, and Hamas, which has authority in Gaza, for what he called their "incitement and libels and lies." He castigated those who used Molotov cocktails, knives and rocks as well as live ammunition against Israeli citizens and security forces.
    "All of us, we're in the midst of a wave of terrorism ... terrorists that are incited, filled with hatred and trying to hurt people."
    The terrorists will not succeed, Netanyahu said.
    "The radicals, the terrorists will not achieve anything," he said. "We will prosecute them, and we will be victorious."
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said earlier this week that he doesn't want the situation to escalate.

    More stabbing attacks

    The violence has shown no signs of abating, with three stabbing attacks reported Thursday.
    In Tel Aviv, a female Israeli soldier was stabbed with a screwdriver, allegedly by a Palestinian. Another soldier shot the attacker dead, Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri told CNN. The attack left four people lightly wounded, including the soldier.
    In the Kiryat Arba settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron, an Israeli man was in serious condition after being stabbed in the stomach, Samri said. Israeli security forces are still looking for that attacker.
    Also Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed an ultra-Orthodox Jewish student, 25, in Jerusalem, wounding him seriously, police said. A 19-year-old Palestinian from the Shuafat refugee camp has been arrested in that attack at a light rail station near Jerusalem's main police headquarters.
    Many of these knife and gun attacks on Israelis have been concentrated in Jerusalem, the city that both sides claim as their capital.
    But the attacks have spread beyond Jerusalem and the West Bank, the historical hot spots.

    Holy site at heart of unrest

    Because of the violence, Israel announced Sunday it was reinstating restrictions on access to Jerusalem's Old City.
    Muslim men under the age of 50 will be prevented from attending prayers at what they call the Noble Sanctuary. Another security assessment will be made before Friday prayers, Israeli police said.
    Palestinian protesters have repeatedly clashed with Israeli security forces in and around the complex in recent weeks.
    The move by Israeli authorities to prevent Muslim men under 50 from attending prayers at the site angered Palestinian leaders. It followed an attack Saturday in which two Israelis were killed.