— Violence and bloodshed radiating outward from flashpoints in Jerusalem and the West Bank appear to be shifting gears and expanding, with Gaza increasingly drawn in.
An Israeli retaliatory airstrike at dawn on Sunday against Hamas, the Islamic militant group that dominates Gaza
, led to the deaths of a pregnant Palestinian woman and a toddler, Palestinian officials said. And a Palestinian woman and a police officer were wounded when the woman set off an explosion in her car in the West Bank, according to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service.
The pregnant woman and child appeared to be the first Palestinian civilian casualties of an Israeli airstrike in more than a year, since a cease-fire ended 50 days of fierce fighting in Gaza. The Israeli military said the strikes early on Sunday were in response to rocket fire into Israel from the Gaza Strip overnight.
Together with the fatal shooting of nine Palestinians by Israeli forces during violent protests along the Gaza border over the weekend, the latest events added a volatile and unpredictable dimension to the recent wave of violence, despite international efforts to calm the atmosphere.
The mounting death toll in Gaza seemed to contradict the Israeli Army’s stated policy of trying to avoid civilian casualties that could escalate the situation further.
Later Sunday morning, shots were fired from Gaza at an Israeli construction vehicle working with the army along the border, but no injuries were reported, according to the military. In central Israel, an Arab citizen rammed his vehicle into pedestrians at a bus stop and then got out and stabbed them, wounding four people before he was captured, the police said. And near the Jelazoun refugee camp in the West Bank, a Palestinian boy of 12 was killed by Israeli forces during a clash, according to a camp leader.
So far this month, four Israelis have been killed in Palestinian gun and knife attacks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and several more have been wounded. Israeli forces have fatally shot at least 20 Palestinians, many of them teenagers, according to data compiled by the Palestinian Health Ministry and Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group. More than 1,000 Palestinians have been reported injured.
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority over the weekend, and emissaries from the United States
, the United Nations and the European Union were expected to arrive in the region on Tuesday.
Mr. Netanyahu told Mr. Kerry that Israel expected the Palestinian Authority to stop what he called “its wild and mendacious incitement, which is causing the current wave of terrorism,” according to a statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office.
Palestinian anger has been focused recently on the Old City of Jerusalem and a contested site there that is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, where the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock now stand. Palestinian officials, including Mr. Abbas, have accused Israel of plotting to divide the compound. Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied the accusation and insisted that Israel’a policy was to maintain the status quo at the site.
Mr. Netanyahu said on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel were to blame for inciting violence. After a weekend of stormy demonstrations by Arab citizens of Israel, as well as counterdemonstrations by right-wing Israeli Jews, Mr. Netanyahu said the government would call up 16 reserve companies of border police to help restore order.
Hatem Abdul Qader, an official of Mr. Abbas’s mainstream Fatah party in Jerusalem, told the official Palestinian radio station, “Even if he summons NATO, the issue is that we are resisting occupation.”
The Israeli military said its warplanes had struck two Hamas weapons factories in the Gaza Strip overnight in retaliation for rocket fire against Israel
. Al Resalah, a news site run by Hamas, said that at least two Israeli missiles had struck a site belonging to the group’s military wing.
Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, said that the airstrike caused a house to collapse, killing the pregnant woman, Noor Hassan, 30, and a young relative, Rahaf Hassan, 2, who was found under the rubble. Other reports said the child was Ms. Hassan’s daughter.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said the army was looking into the reports of civilian deaths in Gaza. In an earlier statement, the military said it held Hamas responsible for any acts of aggression from Gaza. “This weekend, we have seen clear incitement encouraging the breach of Israel’s sovereignty,” it added, pointing to violent confrontations that it said threatened residents of southern Israel.
A rocket fired from Gaza late Saturday was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile defense system south of the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, according to the military.
On Saturday, two Palestinian boys — Khalil Othman, 15, and Marwan Breikh, 13 — were fatally shot by Israeli forces near Abassan, east of Khan Younis, according to Gaza health officials, and a third Palestinian, Jihad Obeid, 22, died of wounds sustained on Friday in similar protests. Hamas said that Mr. Obeid belonged to the group’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, and praised him for taking “the path of jihad and resistance.”
The Israeli military said it was trying to quell crowds along the border that had hurled rocks, rolled burning tires and tried to breach the fence separating Gaza from Israel. In one case, dozens of Palestinians managed to enter Israeli territory. Five were caught and detained for questioning, and the rest retreated back to Gaza, according to the military.
The car explosion happened when a police officer pulled over a 31-year-old woman who was approaching a checkpoint northeast of Jerusalem. According to Shin Bet, the driver shouted “Allahu akbar” and set off an explosion by igniting a gas balloon in her car.
Palestinians disputed that account. The independent Palestinian news agency Maan, citing a witness it did not name, said an electrical problem had ignited a small fire in the woman’s car and that she panicked and started to scream.