Israel intensified its assault on the Gaza Strip on Friday as bloody clashes spread to the West Bank and Lebanese border on the fifth day of fighting.
A senior US diplomat arrived in Tel Aviv to meet Israeli and Palestinian officials as Washington tries to urgently de-escalate the conflict, the worst outbreak of violence in the region since 2014.
Eight people have died so far in Israel after more than 2,000 rockets fired from Palestinian militants in Gaza sent people running for cover in communities across the Jewish State.
The losses were far higher in Gaza. Days of Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling has led to the deaths of more than 120 people - including 31 children - with over 900 others injured, Palestinian officials said.
Violence erupted in multiple places on Friday, including the West Bank, where the Palestinian Health Ministry said eight people died and some 50 others were injured by bullets and rubber projectiles fired by Israeli forces.
Earlier, the Israeli army said it shot and killed an attacker who tried to stab a soldier with a knife near a military post in Ofra, near Ramallah in the West Bank.
The civil unrest was mounting between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel, with other protests and riots reported in communities in which a high proportion of Arab Israelis live.
On Friday night in East Jerusalem, there were incidents across Israel of police arrested protesters who were throwing stones and incendiary devices.
Citizens have been facing off for days in the city of Lod, which remains under curfew after becoming a flashpoint for some of the ugliest confrontations.
Further afield, dozens of Lebanese and Palestinians protesting in southern Lebanon managed to cross the border fence into Israel, prompting the Israeli military to fire warning shots.
The pro-Iran Hezbollah movement said one its members, a 21-year-old, died in hospital in southern Lebanon after being hit in the stomach.
A second Lebanese protester injured from Israeli gunfire died later, a Lebanese security source and local media said.
Meanwhile, in Beirut, hundreds of pro-Iranian Hezbollah followers along with Palestinians demonstrated in the Burj al-Barajneh area in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
In Jordan, demonstrators travelled to the border with Israel to protest.
Elsewhere, three rockets were fired from Syria in the direction of Israel on Friday evening, with one of them landing on Syrian soil, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
In Gaza, the Israeli army said "many kilometres" of a tunnel system used by militants were damaged in a major assault that began overnight.
"I said we would hit Hamas and the other terrorist organizations very hard - and that is exactly what we are doing," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to remarks released by his office.
The tunnel network is vital in the Gaza Strip for shifting goods and people in and out, since Israel maintains tight restrictions on the region so long as it is ruled by Hamas, a group Israel classifies as terrorist and which has a history of armed resistance to Israeli rule.
The United Nations sounded alarm about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, calling for the border to be opened to transport petrol and humanitarian goods.
According to UN estimates, some 10,000 Palestinians have had to leave their homes in Gaza because of the ongoing fighting.
International efforts to mediate in the conflict have proven futile so far.
An Egyptian delegation that met with Israeli officials to help negotiate a ceasefire did not reach any positive results, an Egyptian security source said on Friday.
However, the US embassy in Jerusalem said Hady Amr, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel and Palestinian affairs, had arrived in Tel Aviv Friday evening to lead the Biden administration's efforts at to end the fighting.
He is set to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials in the coming days.
Amr will "reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm, recognizing Israel's right to self-defense," the embassy tweeted.
"Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity," the embassy tweeted.
Congress is continuing to obtain public documents that were blocked from being released by the Trump administration.
"The General Services Administration has provided House Democrats with documents related to former President Donald Trump's Washington hotel, in the second case this week where the Biden administration gave the House information that the Trump administration had blocked it from obtaining," CNN reported. "The Biden administration revealed in a court filing on Friday that the House committee had asked for the records and the GSA had turned over some of them last week.
The request was resubmitted by House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
"The GSA responded in a letter to DeFazio last week that it was turning over some of the requested records, including monthly financial statements from the Trump hotel, audits and lease amendments -- though the GSA declined to provide legal memorandums, arguing that those records were part of 'internal executive branch legal advice.' The letter from the GSA said it was still working to fulfill DeFazio's request for memos and communications from the White House or other federal agencies related to the lease of the Old Post Office Building," CNN reported.
New tonight: The GSA has given House Dems some Trump hotel docs. Disclosure came in a court filing today—where the… https://t.co/dvCYp5OOwF— Katelyn Polantz (@Katelyn Polantz)1621039664.0
Jon Thomas Mott apparently got himself from Arkansas to Washington D.C. with the help of a GoFundMe page organized on behalf of a "fellow patriot" and himself. But the generosity of it all didn't work so well.
Mott, of Yellville AR, was arrested Thursday in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot. He faces criminal entry and trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.
Unlike so many other suspects, Mott doesn't appear to have left a trail of electronic breadcrumbs for the FBI in the form of social-media posts and texts.
But he didn't need to: He got tagged.
According to the FBI criminal complaint, someone identified only as "Individual 1" had referenced Mott on his GoFundMe page for the trip of D.C. -- to which the FBI was alerted by witnesses -- and that apparently led to Mott's identification as having participated in the riot.
It probably didn't help that, according to the FBI, Mott's spouse, Hope Anderson-Mott, had linked from her Facebook page to the GoFundMe page asking for support. Her Facebook page also referenced Mott's trip to Washington D.C.
The various tips about Mott led the FBI to identify him in Freedom News video and footage from police body cameras. That's where the direct evidence against Mott was cited in the FBI complaint:
"In the Freedom News video, the footage depicts Mott with swollen eyes pouring water on another person's face. This behavior is indicative of recovery from tear gas or another similar chemical irritant which was deployed by law enforcement in an effort to subdue the rioters entering the Capitol."
The FBI also stated that "Mott joined another group of rioters who were yelling at (police) officers. Mott has an interaction with an officer, who is utilizing his baton in an attempt to restrict the rioters from moving through the exit. Mott can be heard telling the officer "don't touch me and if you don't touch me, I won't touch you," and then pushing against the officer's baton."
Then there was this passage from Individual 1's Facebook account after it was all over, again not helpful to Mott:
"I'm ok. We did it. JT and I got separated for about 20 minutes, but I've made contact with him. He's better than OK. I'm now trying to get us the hell out of here. Good work patriots. Protecting pedophiles and denying people don't fly here. The silent majority has spoken. Let this be a lesson. We'll do it again when we have to."
You can reach the FBI complaint here.
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