On the morning that Hamas and Israel announced an extension of the humanitarian pause for the release of hostages and prisoners, a shooting attack at the entrance to Jerusalem left three people dead and six injured, two of them seriously.
According to Israeli police, two Palestinian gunmen armed with a pistol and M16 rifles opened fire this Thursday (30) at people at a bus stop — the same one where a fatal bomb attack had occurred about a year ago — at an intersection at around 7:40 am (local time), after arriving at the scene in a vehicle. Later, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, calling those responsible (two brothers aged 30 and 38) “martyrs of Jihad”.
:: Hamas signs a ceasefire in Gaza for another four days; US pushes for extension of agreement ::
According to the Shin Bet security agency, they were members of Hamas and had previously been arrested for activities considered terrorist. After the attack, they were killed by two Israel Defense Forces soldiers and a civilian, who shot them. According to police, officers raided the two’s home and detained six members of their families, including their parents, for questioning.
Israel releases, but arrests even more
The two sides in conflict announced that they would extend the pause in fighting. Qatar, which was mediating the negotiations, said the extension would last another day, while Israeli officials continue to insist there will be no permanent ceasefire.
After Hamas released 16 hostages and Israel released 30 prisoners on Wednesday (29), a new wave is scheduled for this Thursday. Since the start of the pause, last Friday, 210 Palestinian prisoners (women and minors), 73 Israeli hostages and 24 hostages of other nationalities have been released, according to the United Nations (UN) office for humanitarian affairs.
Read also: Massacre in Gaza: pause helps Israel reorganize itself militarily, says analyst
However, figures from the Palestinian Prisoners Society show that Israel arrested more Palestinians than it released during the pause: 240 were imprisoned in the same period in which 210 were released.
The society’s spokeswoman, Amany Sarahneh, said that more than 3,360 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been arrested since October 7, the day of the Hamas surprise attack that served as the pretext for the massacre in Gaza. Between Wednesday afternoon (29) and Thursday morning (30) alone, at least 40 were detained.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israeli forces have injured more than 3,000 Palestinians, including hundreds of children, in the West Bank. Almost all were injured in the context of demonstrations, searches and arrests or other operations.
For a Palestinian State
The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, meets this Thursday with Israeli and Palestinian officials. With the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, it is the second meeting this month. Although Abbas is unpopular with most Palestinians, so much so that the Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas, Joe Biden’s administration has hopes in the Palestinian Authority as the future manager of both the West Bank and Gaza.
Before the visit, Blinken said he sought to plan “the day after the day after”, a broader strategy to reach a peace agreement that involves the creation of a Palestinian state. He also stated that the pause in fighting is “producing results”.
With information from The Times of Israel and The Washington Post.
Editing: Rebeca Cavalcante