Funeral held of five-year-old killed by Hamas rocket

Sirens sound as Ido Avigail is buried.


Two days after killing a five-year-old, Gaza militants have disrupted his funeral.

Shrapnel from a terrorist rocket killed Ido Avigail on Wednesday, and injured. This afternoon, he was buried in Kiryat Gat — as sirens sounded and mourners had to take cover. 

Militants appear to have launched rockets towards the city specifically to coincide with the burial. The rockets are believed to have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system. The siren added emotional intensity to an already-charged gathering.

“A few days ago you asked me, ‘dad, what would happen if  there were a siren and we are out?’’ said the father Asaf Avigail. “I told you, ‘Ido, as long as you are with me, you are protected.’ I lied.” 

Hamas has continued heavy rocket fire towards Israel today, taking the total number of projectiles launched in the violence past the 2,000 mark. They have also been attempting to infiltrate Israel by drone. The IDF has now shot down at least five drones that were launched from Gaza, -- the latest one late this morning -- each of them carrying a payload of explosives. 

In an apparent act of sympathy with Gaza militants, in the West Bank an attacker tried unsuccessfully to attack Israeli troops on an army base, and then to stab a soldier nearby. The IDF said he was “neutralised.” Since this incident, there have been several clashes in the West Bank, with Arabic language media reporting that six Palestinians have been killed. 

Frictions are also building on Lebanon’s border with Israel. Some rioters briefly crossed the border today, starting a fire along the border fence, and then returned to Lebanon. 

As international criticism regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza grows, the IDF is arguing that the death of Palestinian civilians should be blamed on militants, not on Israel. It happens because Israel needs to target terror infrastructure and "Hamas and Islamic Jihad deliberately place rocket launchers within densely populated civilian areas in the Gaza strip,” the military claimed.

After almost a week of rioting and attacks by Arabs on Jews and vice-versa, Israel’s police force announced today that it has made some 750 arrests in connection with disturbances. 

Incidents have included acts of violence between people from the opposing sides, against police officers and soldiers, and in one case against a journalist, as well as arsons at several synagogues. It emerged on Friday that a police station in the Arab city of Qalansawe was set on fire.

The revelation on the number of arrests comes as police chief Kobi Shabtai blamed a far-right Jewish politician for sparking and sustaining the violence, by ramping up Arab-Jewish frictions.

He lashed out at Itamar Ben-Gvir, a Kahanist from the Religious Zionist party, which received controversial political help from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the election. 

"The person responsible for this is Itamar Ben Gbir " said Shabtai according to Hebrew media. "it started with a demonstration of (his organisation) Lahava at the Damascus Gate. He continued the provocation in Sheikh Jarrah, and now he is walking around with Lahava activists in cities. Yesterday we managed to calm Acre and he arrived with activists on the bus and caused unrest." 

As fighting with Hamas and internal unrest continues Israel’s politics is in flux, after the leader of the rightist Yamina faction scuppered talks for a broad Benjamin Netanyahu-free coalition, backed by a range of mostly-Jewish parties and one Arab party.

Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, who was working with Mr Bennett to build the “change” coalition, has vowed to carry on trying to form a government that will oust Mr Netanyahu. “Bennett is wrong, I will continue turning over every stone to form a government,” Mr Lapid declared in a speech. 

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