No claim of responsibility was made for either of Friday’s attacks, but Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the blockaded Gaza Strip praised them and said they were linked to the tensions around Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Friday prayers passed without major incident and apart from some stone-throwing, police said the situation had been quiet.
However, Israeli police have raided the mosque, where hundreds of thousands of worshippers have been praying during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, twice this week to dislodge groups they said had barricaded themselves with the aim of causing trouble.
Footage of officers beating worshippers who confronted them aroused concern, even among Israel’s allies, and prompted condemnation across the Arab world.
The site in Jerusalem’s Old City, holy to both Muslims and Jews, who know it as Temple Mount, has been a longstanding flashpoint, notably over the issue of Jewish visitors defying a ban on non-Muslim prayer in the mosque compound.
Clashes there in 2021 helped set off a 10-day war between Israel and Hamas and the exchange of cross-border fire awakened memories of that conflict but as the lull in fighting extended on Friday, neither side seemed keen to prolong the fighting.
“Nobody wants an escalation right now,” an Israeli army spokesman said. “Quiet will be answered with quiet, at this stage I think, at least in the coming hours.”
One official with a Palestinian militant group told Reuters they were ready to keep the calm should Israel do the same, with the group having “made its point”. A Qatari official said Qatar was helping international efforts to de-escalate the situation.
Even before the flare-up of the past few days, the West Bank has seen a surge of confrontations in the past several months, with frequent military raids and escalating settler violence amid a spate of attacks by Palestinians.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 18 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in attacks in Israel, around Jerusalem and in the West Bank. In the same period, Israeli forces have killed more than 80 Palestinians, most of them fighters in militant groups but some of them civilians.
In the aftermath of the overnight strikes in Gaza, streets were largely empty except for some taxis and emergency vehicles. In Gaza City’s Tufah neighbourhood, some houses and a children’s hospital were damaged.
Taxi driver Muhanad Abu Neama, 23, said his family barely escaped Israeli air strikes that landed near his house, filling rooms with dirt and debris and damaging his car.
“I could hardly see because of the dust, the dirt covered my sisters’ beds and I carried them out one by one,” he said.
With the international-led peace process long moribund, Israel’s new hard-right government is set on expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and includes members who rule out a Palestinian state. Hamas for its part spurns coexistence with Israel.