JERUSALEM: The number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank has risen to seven.
The Israeli army said one was killed after attempting to stab a soldier. Palestinian health officials confirmed that death and said six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the occupied West Bank.
The Health Ministry said five were killed in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli forces in several locations, and a sixth was killed during an attempt to stab an Israeli soldier on Friday. A seventh was killed in Nablus.
Israel faced a widening conflict, as deadly violence escalated across the West Bank amid a massive aerial bombardment in Gaza and unprecedented unrest among Arabs and Jews inside the country.
A Palestinian security source said Friday’s fighting was the “most intense” since the second intifada, or uprising, that began in 2000.
Palestinian armed groups in the enclave have launched more than 1,800 rockets at Israel since Monday, killing nine people, with sirens wailing across the country throughout the week.
Violence on Fridays in the West Bank is a traditional facet of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Friday’s escalation appeared linked to the raging hostilities in Gaza and the internal unrest in Israel.
More than 150 were injured across the territory occupied by Israel since 1967, with Palestinians hit by Israeli bullets, tear gas and in some cases live fire, said the Red Crescent.
The UN said the Security Council would meet Sunday to address Gaza.
China accused the US of “ignoring the suffering” of Muslims, after Washington stopped the council from meeting Friday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was “deeply concerned about the violence in the streets of Israel,” and his department urged citizens to “reconsider” travel to the country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said rocket fire by Hamas against Israel amounted to “terrorist attacks.”
Several international airlines — including British Airways, Lufthansa and Iberia — canceled flights amid the onslaught.
Israel said hundreds of the rockets fired toward its territory, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, had been intercepted.
Israel has hit roughly 750 sites it described as military targets such as Hamas bomb-making facilities and the homes of senior militant commanders. Three high-rise buildings were flattened.
Israel estimates that more than 30 leaders of Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad have been killed.
“I said we’d deliver heavy blows to Hamas and other terror groups, and we’re doing that,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“They’re paying and will continue to pay dearly for that. It’s not over yet.”
Within Israel, an unprecedented wave of mob violence has seen Arabs and Jews savagely beat each other and attack places of worship.
More than 750 people have been arrested this week, including more than 100 overnight, police said.
In Lod, where an Arab man was shot dead by a Jewish Israeli on Monday, the outside of a synagogue was burnt overnight, they added.
Officers had detained Jews “walking around looking for trouble” in Netanya and Beersheba, while Arabs in other towns attacked police and police stations with stones and petrol bombs.
In one of the most shocking episodes of the intercommunal violence, a far-right Jewish mob beat a man they considered an Arab in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv on Wednesday, leaving him with serious injuries.
“Nothing justifies the lynching of Arabs by Jews, and nothing justifies the lynching of Jews by Arabs,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s civil aviation authority said it was directing incoming flights to Tel Aviv to circle offshore when rockets are being fired from Gaza, with pilots choosing whether to divert to Ramon airport in the south or wait until runways are checked for ordnance.