Gaza City — Weary Palestinians on Thursday prepared for a somber feast marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as Gaza braced for more Israeli airstrikes and communal violence raged across Israel after weeks of protests and violence in Jerusalem.
The latest outburst of Mideast violence has reached deeper into Israel than any since the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising. Arab and Jewish mobs are rampaging through the streets, savagely beating people and torching cars, and flights are being diverted from the country’s main airport.
The last three wars between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers were largely confined to the impoverished and blockaded Palestinian territory and Israeli communities on the frontier. But this round of fighting which, like the intifada, began in Jerusalem, seems to be rippling far and wide, tearing apart the country at its seams.
Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of a month of daylong fasting, is usually a festive time when families shop for new clothes and gather for large feasts.
But in Gaza, residents are bracing for more devastation as militants fire one barrage of rockets after another and Israel carries out waves of bone-rattling airstrikes, sending plumes of smoke rising into the air. Since the rockets began Monday, Israel has toppled two high-rise apartment buildings housing Hamas facilities after warning civilians to evacuate.
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