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The Guardian: Western countries are concerned about an escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

27-1-2023 |

Washington has raised concern over the escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence after Israeli forces on Thursday killed nine Palestinians during a West Bank raid in the deadliest single day in the territory in decades.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said he feared the security situation could worsen after two rockets were fired from Gaza early on Friday and Israel responded with airstrikes on the territory.

The top US diplomat is set to travel to the Middle East on Sunday to discuss the situation, with a visit planned to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank.

The trip was announced just hours after Israeli commandos killed seven gunmen and two civilians in the occupied West Bank.

A 61-year-old woman and a male civilian were among the dead, the Palestinian health ministry said, and about 20 more people were seriously injured.

The raid’s death toll is the highest in a single operation ever recorded by the United Nations since the international body’s records began in 2005.

The Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank and works alongside Israel to contain militant activity, announced on Thursday night it was suspending security cooperation with the Israeli government – a step it has taken on a temporary basis in the past.

Shortly after midnight on Friday, Palestinian militants fired two rockets from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel that were intercepted by missile defences. Israel then carried out strikes in Gaza.

UN and Arab mediators said on Thursday afternoon that negotiations were being held with Israel and Palestinian factions across the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an effort to calm the situation. The United Arab Emirates, China and France have also asked the UN security council to meet behind closed doors on Friday.

The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel was not looking to escalate the situation, though he ordered security forces “to prepare for all scenarios in the various sectors”.

Source: The Guardian