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Escalating Tensions and Violence: Israeli Airstrikes, Rocket Attacks, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque Crisis

The deadliest Israeli airstrike since August 2021 has resulted in 13 Palestinian casualties, including three Islamic Jihad commanders, eight women, and children, with 20 people injured. Israel launched this operation targeting militants posing an imminent threat to its citizens, prompting the Islamic Jihad to vow revenge and Israel to prepare for days of fighting. Early Tuesday morning, 40 Israeli warplanes and helicopters attacked across Gaza, killing four children and four women, among others.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck ten sites used for weapon manufacturing and six Islamic Jihad military facilities. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned that assassinating leaders would only lead to more resistance. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is the largest militant group in Gaza next to Hamas and is responsible for many rocket attacks on Israel.

Tensions between Jewish and Muslim worshippers escalated at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on April 9, 2023, when thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered at the Western Wall for Passover, while Palestinians performed prayers for Ramadan. Palestinians protested the presence of Jewish visitors at the Al-Aqsa compound, fearing Israeli intentions to take over the site. The situation escalated after an Israeli police raid on the mosque, leading to violence and rocket fire from Palestinian militants.

In response, Israeli airstrikes targeted the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon. Hezbollah's chief, Hassan Nasrallah, met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to discuss developments and escalating resistance. Militants in Syria fired rockets towards Israel and the Golan Heights, with Israel responding with artillery fire and airstrikes on Syrian army sites. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an end to hostilities in a phone call with Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog.

Over the weekend, three people were killed in Palestinian attacks in Israel and the occupied West Bank. Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza after Palestinian factions fired rockets across the border following Khader Adnan's death. Adnan, a political leader within the Islamic Jihad, died after an 87-day hunger strike in Israeli custody, which Palestinian leaders described as an assassination.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with security officials to assess the situation. Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), called Adnan's death an "ugly assassination." The number of Palestinian administrative detainees has risen to over 1,000 in the past year, the highest number in two decades. Israeli rights group B'Tselem described Adnan's hunger strike as a non-violent protest against the injustices of the occupation.

In recent weeks, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have soared, with rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon and Israeli airstrikes in response. Jewish-Muslim tensions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque have further fueled the conflict, with thousands of Jewish worshippers gathering at the Western Wall for Passover and Palestinians performing prayers for Ramadan.

As the situation continues to escalate, international leaders call for an end to hostilities and a peaceful resolution. However, with the ongoing rocket attacks, airstrikes, and tensions surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the path to peace remains uncertain.