One tourist dead and seven injured in car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv

An Italian man died and seven others were injured in a car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, in what police claimed was a ‘terrorist attack’.

The coastal city’s police said a man barreled down the beachside walk in a white Kia car and collided with several pedestrians.

Footage on social media showed the car veering off the street and onto the promenade before flipping over onto the beach.

Police killed the driver after he allegedly pulled out a gun.

The Israeli authorities identified the victim of the ‘cowardly attack’ as Alessandro Parini, 30, from Rome, the Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said.

‘I express my firm condemnation of terrorism and condolences to families,’ he tweeted yesterday evening.

Both incidents capped off a tense week of violence across Israel and the West Bank, exasperated by an outbreak of fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border.

It was ignited when Israeli police attacked hundreds of worshipers at the Al-Aqṣā Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, in occupied east Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Some witnesses alleged the force used rubber-tipped bullets, stun grenades and tear gas. Footage showed police pushing Palestinian worshippers out of the compound to prevent them from praying.

Bakr Owais, 24, told Al Jazeera: ‘The army broke the upper windows of the mosque and began throwing stun grenades at us.

‘They made us lay on the ground and they hand cuffed us one by one and took us all out. They kept swearing at us during this time. It was very barbaric.’

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At least 400 Palestinians were arrested, a dozen sustained wounds and three were taken to hospital, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

The raids, which continued into the morning, outraged Palestinians across the Middle East trying to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Arab League condemned the attack, with Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit saying per Al Jazeera: ‘The extremist approaches that control the policy of the Israeli government will lead to widespread confrontations with the Palestinians if they are not put to an end.’

Netanyahu said he is trying to calm the situation at the compound.

‘Israel is committed to maintaining freedom of worship, freedom of access to all religions and the status quo and will not allow violent extremists to change that,’ he said.

Israel carried out air raids in southern Lebanon in the early hours of Friday at what officials alleged were positions of the Palestinian group, Hamas.

This was in response to the 34 rockets fired from southern Lebanon the previous day, the Israeli Defence Forces tweeted.

Emergency services in Israel said three people were injured by the four rockets which landed across Israel’s northern border, including a 19-year-old man and a 60-year-old man.

Though, responsibility for the rockets has not been made, with Israeli military officials pointing fingers at branches of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 

Hamas, a Palestinian militia in Gaza, however, denied any involvement while condemning the violent raids.

Analysts said the episode was the most serious escalation along the Israel-Lebanon border since the 2006 war.

Jerusalem has been a major flash point of violence, being revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.

Israeli police have immense control over security in the city, giving the force power over who can enter the Al-Aqṣā Mosque compound.

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