Jewish victim of clashes within Israel dies

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, was pelted with stones last week


A Jewish Israeli man died today, a week after being pelted with stones in the violence that has broken out between Arabs and Jews.

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, was badly injured last Tuesday by Arab rioters in Lod, the mixed Jewish-Arab city near Tel Aviv which has become notorious for the ongoing violence. Doctors had desperately been trying to save the married father of two but declared him dead today. 

His wife Irena has spoken of the harrowing moment when she saw his shirt soaked with blood and said that he was an embodiment of coexistence who was, tragically, killed in sectarian violence. 

"Yigal was a symbol of coexistence,” she told Israel’s N12 news site. “He was not afraid of anything. He worked as an electrician and repaired houses for everyone, Arabs or Jews." 

She said his car was targeted with stones as he neared their house. He managed to drive home, where she saw “the window shattered and his shirt soaked in blood.” She said that the violence between communities “hurts us all.” 

Politicians and other public figures are mourning him. “While our eyes are on the external war, the internal war has claimed its first Jewish victim, Yigal Yehoshua, who was murdered in a brutal lynching in Lod,” stated Ayelet Shaked of the Yamina party. 

“The government needs to fight the riots and chaos that prevail in the cities involved, with intensity and zero tolerance.”

Government figures are vowing to search for the rock throwers responsible for Mr Yehoshua’s death. “The State of Israel will lay its hands on anyone who took part in the murderous pogrom and will bring them to justice,” promised finance minister Israel Katz. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I share in the sorrow of the family of the late Yigal Yehoshua who was murdered in a lynch carried out by Arab rioters in Lod. We will settle accounts with whoever participated in this murder. Nobody will escape punishment.” 

In the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, the IDF inflicted significant damage on some 10 miles of underground Hamas tunnels today, using 54 fighter jets to carry out dozens of strikes. 

This is the third round of aerial attacks on what Israel is calling the “metro” system of tunnels under Gaza which represents a central part of the enclave’s militant infrastructure. 
The strikes came as Israel marked the Shavuot holiday while on high alert for rocket alarms, and with many spending part of the day in shelters. Since early morning some 190 rockets have been fired in to Israel, bringing the total number of rockets fired during this round off violence to 3,350. 

Most of today’s rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome missile defence system, but there were several injuries, including eight people hurt in Ashkelon as the result of a large barrage late this morning. One rocket hit a house in Ashdod, and caused significant damage but no injuries. 

As well as striking tunnels today, the IDF hit the main operations centre of the Hamas internal security forces in the Rimal neighbourhood, in the northern Gaza Strip. 

Israel’s air force killed Hasam Abu Harbid, commander of the Northern Division of the Islamic Jihad, and struck the homes of five of Hamas’ top ranking commanders. “All of the houses served as a part of Hamas' terror infrastructure,” the IDF said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, controversy rages regarding the IDF’s Saturday strike that destroyed a Gaza high-rise building that housed numerous offices, including those of Associated Press and other media outlets. 

Mr Netanyahu said that the strike was “perfectly legitimate” as civilians were given time to evacuate and the IDF insists there were Hamas targets there. But US secretary of State Antony Blinken said today that he has requested Israeli justification for the strike but has not received any.

Despite apparent friction between Washington and Jerusalem regarding this strike, the US is supporting Israel. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel’s foreign minister, spoke to Mr Blinken by phone this evening. "I thanked him for his condemnation of Hamas terrorism and backing Israel's right to defend itself,” Mr Ashkenazi tweeted afterwards, stating that Israel will continue operations “until peace is restored to the communities in the south and centre of the country.” 

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