Terrorist attacks on Israelis reach 2 1/2-year high


(JTA) — May saw the highest number of terrorist attacks in 2 1/2 years against Israelis following an increase of nearly 40 percent in April.

Of the 365 attacks recorded in May, 271 involved firebombs, the Israel Security Agency said in its monthly report published this week. The increase occurred in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as along Israel’s border with Gaza.

The tally for May is the highest on record since October 2015, when 620 attacks were recorded. One Israeli died as a result of attacks — a soldier who was killed after a stone slab was dropped on his head from a height. Four more soldiers were injured, one in an explosion in Jerusalem and three others, as well as one civilian, from a rocket near Gaza.

April had 223 incidents recorded.

The Hamas terrorist group has organized weekly demonstrations along the border with Israel, labeling them nonviolent events though they feature the hurling of firebombs at troops near the fence and attempts to breach it. More than 135 Palestinians have died in the rioting since March, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

On Thursday, Maan reported that a 23-year-old Gazan, Muhammad Ghassan Abu Farhana, died the previous day from wounds he sustained during a massive riot on May 14, when Israeli troops killed 61 people. A senior Hamas official said that 50 of the 61 killed in or immediately after that riot were members of his organization.

Many countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Sweden, have condemned Israel for what they see as an overly aggressive response to the the protests. The United States blames Hamas for the violence and vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft motion targeting Israel.

Additionally, Palestinians have burned hundreds of acres of land near the border by sending over kites carrying torches and helium balloons.

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