Israel calls up Air Force reservists amid terror attacks, rocket barrages and fears of further escalation

According to the Jerusalem Post, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi convened a situation assessment on Friday afternoon, during which he ordered the call-up of some reserves, with an emphasis on air defense and offensive formations in the Air Force, in light of the tensions in the region.

Meanwhile, An Italian man has died and five other British and Italian tourists have been injured in an attack in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, the latest episode of violence after several days of rising tensions sparked fears of a broader conflagration in the region.

According to the Guardian, The 30-year-old Italian died from a gunshot wound, Israel’s rescue service said on Friday night, the Jewish holy day. At the same time, Israeli police said a car had been driven into people near the beach, and that the driver had been shot and killed.

It was not immediately clear if there had been one incident or two separate ones. Israeli media reported that the assailant was an Arab citizen of Israel, from the northern town of Kafr Qasem. Fire and smoke rise following an Israeli airstrike in the central Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military has struck targets in the Gaza Strip, pushing the region toward a wider conflagration after a day of rocket fire along the country’s northern and southern borders.

The fighting follows two days of unrest at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site. As Israeli aircraft began striking Gaza, Palestinian militants quickly fired off a new barrage of rockets, setting off air raid sirens across southern Israel. The Israeli army said it was carrying out strikes in the area.

The Israeli army “is currently striking in the Gaza Strip,” read an army statement shortly after AFP heard at least three explosions. A Palestinian security source said the strikes had hit several Hamas training sites.

The Italian man was named as Alessandro Parini from Rome by the country’s premier, Giorgia Meloni, who expressed “solidarity with Israel for the vile attack”. Israel’s rescue service said five other British and Italian tourists — including a 74-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl — were receiving medical treatment for mild to moderate injuries.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered the mobilization of police and army reserves after the incident, his office said in a statement.

A video of the incident shared on social media showed that the car had veered off the street and onto a path before flipping over on to the beach.

The attack comes against a backdrop of fears of an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict drawing in the powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah after Israel bombed sites in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon early on Friday in response to rocket fire blamed on Palestinian militants from the two territories.

Israel and Lebanon are technically still at war, and Thursday’s barrage of about 34 rockets aimed at northern Israel was the biggest flare-up between the two countries since a short war with the Iran-backed militant group in 2006.

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