Arab Israelis, Palestinians in the West Bank go on strike in protest

Arab Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank held labour strikes on Tuesday to protest Israel's air strikes on Gaza. The UN humanitarian agency is describing an increasingly dire situation inside the Gaza Strip as the war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers rages with no end in sight.

Arab Israelis were also protesting the actions taken by Israeli security forces against Muslim worshippers at the Jerusalem holy site known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, as well as over forced evictions in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

In Israel, Arab doctors, nurses and many teachers were excluded from the strike.

Meanwhile in the West Bank, an armed Palestinian man was killed in an attempted attack on Tuesday, according to Israel's armed forces.

The man was armed with an IED, a "Carlo"-style gun and a knife, and tried to attack soldiers in Hebron, the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement.

The soldiers fired at the man. He was killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

There were also calls for demonstrations and a "Day of Rage" in the West Bank.

In Gaza, Palestinian militants began firing rockets towards Israel at midday, after six hours of calm.

Israel's army tweeted that sirens were sounding again in southern Israel, in communities along the border with Gaza and in the city of Ashkelon.

Hamas militants shelled the village of Ofakim, the group said.

Meanwhile, Israel's army said that it had hit a Hamas group that was about to fire anti-tank missiles.

Israel's air force also attacked the homes of three Hamas commanders in Gaza on Tuesday, army sources said.

The homes of 12 senior commanders of the organization ruling the Gaza Strip have been attacked during the past 24 hours, the army said.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said 212 people had died since the conflict began over a week ago. In Israel, 10 people have died.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says nearly 47,000 Palestinians have fled their homes during more than a week of heavy Israeli airstrikes. Hamas and other militants have fired more than 3,400 rockets into Israel. Laerke says electricity across Gaza is only available for six to eight hours a day.

Citing Palestinian authorities, he said 132 buildings comprising 621 housing and commercial units have been destroyed in Gaza. He says another 316 housing units have been severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable.

Israel and Egypt have imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Israel says the closures are needed to keep the group from rearming, while rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment.

Laerke welcomed Israel’s decision to open Gaza’s main commercial crossing, allowing essential supplies to flow in for the first time since war broke out on 10 May. COGAT, the Israeli military body that coordinates civilian affairs in Gaza, said the crossing was closed after a mortar attack, several hours after it had been opened in order to allow medical equipment in.

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