Hamas Chief Says Unrest Is a New 'Intifada'

A senior member of the Palestinian militant group Hamas has called the escalating unrest in Jerusalem and the West Bank a new "Intifada", or uprising.

"We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the Intifada. It is the only path that will lead to liberation," said Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to AFP news agency. "Gaza will fulfil its role in the Jerusalem Intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation."

Tensions continued to escalate on Friday amid further violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

In Gaza on Friday, Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd that entered a prohibited buffer zone and approached the Israeli border fence, killing four Palestinians and wounded 19 more, Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel.

An Israeli military spokesperson told Newsweek by phone that Israeli forces had fired toward the protesters. The spokesperson could not confirm the deaths.

"A group of about 200 infiltrated the buffer zone surrounding the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip," the spokesperson said. "There are rioters there who are attempting to reach the security fence, they are hurling rocks and burning tires at Israeli forces. After firing warning shots, the forces on site responding with fire towards main instigators in order to prevent their advance and disperse the riot. I can confirm 11 hits but the riot is still ongoing."

Attacks continued on Friday after a week of violence—including a large number of stabbings—across Israel and the Palestinian territories. An Israeli teenager stabbed and wounded four Bedouin Arabs in the Israeli city of Dimona before being arrested by Israeli police, Israeli news site Ynet News reported.

Later on Friday, two Israeli citizens were injured in separate stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. Police detained a suspect after the Jerusalem attack and Israeli forces killed a suspect after the West Bank attack, The Times of Israel reported.

Last week, Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad released a video in which the group threatened to restart suicide bombings against Israeli targets.

The Gaza Strip has been the location of three wars in the last seven years—in 2008, 2012 and 2014. In last summer's seven-week conflict, more than 2,100 Palestinians—including at least 1,585 civilians, of whom 530 were children—were killed, according to U.N. and Palestinian accounts. Seventy-two Israelis—of whom all but five were soldiers—were killed, according to Israeli accounts.