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EU voices concern over escalation of violence in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon

The EU on Saturday expressed “deep” concern about the grave escalation of violence recently in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon.

“Last night again, deadly terrorist attacks have occurred in Tel Aviv, one of them killing an Italian tourist. The EU expresses its total condemnation of these acts of violence,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“This must cease,” he urged.

The upsurge in violence followed days of tension and clashes at the holy sites, including the intervention and the use of force by Israeli police insid the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, as Borrell noted. “The EU condemns the violent incidents which have happened in the Holy Sites and reminds that the status quo of all the Holy Sites must be preserved.”

He also condemned the “indiscriminate” rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza and the territory of Lebanon which killed two Israelis and left one seriously injured.

“Israel has the right to defend itself. At the same time, any response must be proportionate,” he added.

Borrell said the EU urges all parties to “exercise maximum restraint, to avoid further escalation and promote calm for the ongoing religious holidays.”

Israeli police said Wednesday it detained 350 Palestinians from the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem, with witnesses saying they used excessive force, including tear gas.

A day after, the Israeli army said at least 30 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon toward Israel.

Israel held Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks, saying they were carried out by Hamas elements stationed in Lebanon.

Later, it announced that Israel launched an attack on Gaza in the evening, and rockets were launched from Gaza in the direction of Israel.

It was reported that one person was killed and seven people were injured in an armed attack and vehicle-crushing incident in Tel Aviv Friday night.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move never recognized by the international community.

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