Two Hamas members were killed early Saturday by Israeli airstrikes, raising the death toll in Gaza to four since President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Having targeted four Hamas facilities including warehouses and weapons manufacturing sites, the Israeli military said it was responding to rockets fired the previous day, which they assumed were launched by Hamas, according to the Associated Press.
Hamas said two men were recovered from the rubble of the Israeli strikes.
Two Palestinians were also shot dead in Gaza and dozens wounded in the West Bank on Friday amid clashes between protesters and Israeli groups along the border.
Residents caught in the crossfire spent Friday night in shelters, fearful of another Israel-Hamas war. There have been three over the past decade, according to the AP.
Trump’s announcement on Wednesday fulfilled a promise he made while campaigning, including the decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Past presidents have delayed such a decision since 1995 in hopes that peace talks would progress.
But Trump said that, “It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”
His announcement upended decades of U.S. policy and triggered denunciations from around the world, while Israeli leaders hailed the decision.
Jerusalem is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians, and the status of the city is a key element to any peace agreement between the two peoples. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital city, but Palestinians believe the Eastern portion of Jerusalem will be the capital of their own future state.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, through a spokesman, “warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and the world.”
“There clearly is no doubt [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pressed hard for this. He feels he has got very close relations with President Trump. So, this has been high up on his priority list,” David Makovsky, who was a senior policy adviser to the U.S. peace team for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations during 2013 and 2014, told the NewsHour.
Saturday was the third Palestinian “day of rage” with protests along the West Bank and Gaza City, according to the AP. And in Jerusalem on Friday, Muslim worshipers staged anti-U.S. marches, sometimes destroying posters of Trump or American flags.