A Fragile Ceasefire Lets Afghans Risk Travel for Eid

KABUL, Afghanistan — On Saturday, the final day of a three-day national cease-fire for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day Muslim celebration marking the end of fasting after the holy month of Ramadan, the killings in Afghanistan kept coming.

A Kabul traffic policeman was murdered Saturday morning, a day after a bombing at a Kabul mosque during Friday prayers killed 12 civilians, including the imam. A roadside bomb in Kandahar killed five civilians Thursday, among them three children. An explosion outside a shop in Kunduz that day killed two civilians, including a child.

But in this country, those scattered attacks represented a respite of sorts from the much more frequent and deadlier ones that have dominated for most of the year. Afghans took advantage, braving perilous city streets and provincial roadways to visit family members for sumptuous Eid al-Fitr feasts and celebrations.

This was the fourth such cease-fire since 2018, but the first with American and NATO troops withdrawing after two decades of war, leaving Afghans facing an ever more uncertain and unsettled future. The cease-fire came at a time of high anxiety, with terrified Afghans continuing to flee the country and Western embassies warning their own citizens to leave, too.

provincial director of an Afghan human rights commission was waylaid on the same highway and shot to death.

When Ms. Matin and her family approached the same area, Jalrez — known locally as “Death Valley” — she said she instructed her nephews, age 4 and 7, to stay absolutely quiet. The car radio was turned off.

“Everyone was silent — no one even breathed,” she said. She described Taliban gunmen on the roadside, “with their guns, long hair and eye makeup, they were everywhere.” But their car was allowed to pass in deference to the cease-fire, she said.

Mohammad Damishyar, a schoolteacher who lives in Bamian, rebuffed warnings from relatives to stay off the roads, even during the cease-fire. On Thursday, the first day of the cease-fire, he rode in a crowded taxi on a daylong drive through Taliban-controlled areas to celebrate Eid with relatives in Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan.

data compiled by The New York Times.

30,000 Taliban fighters were permitted to wander through government-controlled cities, embracing soldiers and police, visiting tourist spots and eating ice cream.

In announcing this year’s cease-fire on May 9, the Taliban expressly forbade such encounters.

“The Mujahedeen must not visit enemy areas nor permit entrance of enemy personnel into Mujahedeen controlled areas,” the Taliban statement said.

The Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani said its forces would comply with the cease-fire but reserved the right to defend against any enemy attack.

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Conflict Spirals Across Israel and the Palestinian Territories

JERUSALEM — Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians spiraled across several fronts on Saturday as Israel destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza housing the offices of two major international media outlets, Hamas militants in Gaza fired more rocket barrages toward the Tel Aviv area and protests broke out again in the occupied West Bank.

An American envoy, Hady Amr, landed in Israel for two days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, joining efforts led by Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations officials to secure a cease-fire.

But as of early Saturday evening, those efforts showed no sign of success: The fighting is the most intense since 2014 and has taken on a rare complexity because of its spread across the entirety of Israel and the occupied territories.

An early morning Israeli airstrike in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza killed at least 10 members of the same extended family, eight of them children, according to Palestinian officials and local news reports.

said on Twitter that the United States had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.”

Hamas and its allies in Gaza returned fire with a barrage of rockets across central Israel, sending sunbathers sprinting from the beaches of Tel Aviv toward bomb shelters.

Most of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, an antimissile defense system partly financed by the United States. But at least one landed in Ramat Gan, a Tel Aviv suburb, killing one person, Israeli media reported. And it brought the Israeli death toll since Monday to 10. Another fell near an Ikea store south of Tel Aviv, but left no injuries.

attack on their home in Jaffa, a mixed Arab-Jewish city that was at the heart of Arab life in the Middle East before most of its Arab residents fled to Gaza and other parts of the region in 1948.

For Palestinians, the attack, and the situation in general, had particular resonance on Saturday: It was Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in 1948. In Ramallah, the administrative hub of the occupied West Bank, a siren sounded for 73 seconds to mark the 73 years since the dispersal.

Demonstrations and subsequent clashes broke out again in the West Bank, illustrating how widespread the fighting has become since Hamas fired its first rockets shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday.

A Palestinian militant group in Lebanon also fired rockets toward Israel this week, while protesters from Lebanon also briefly entered northern Israel, prompting the Israeli Army to fire on them.

Crowds of Jordanian citizens, many of them of Palestinian descent, have also gathered at the Israeli border to protest the strikes on Gaza.

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An Israeli airstrike killed at least 10 members of a family in a Gaza refugee camp.

An Israeli airstrike that hit a house in a Gaza refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians from the same extended family overnight, several of them children, according to witnesses. A 5-month-old infant was pulled from the rubble alive.

Palestinian officials said the house in the Shati camp had been attacked with no warning. In a statement on Saturday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said that it had “attacked a number of Hamas terror organization senior officials, in an apartment used as terror infrastructure in the area of the Al Shati refugee camp.”

The father of three of the children who died, Mohammed al-Hadidi, told reporters that his wife and their five sons had gone to Shati to visit her brother for Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic feasting holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

“They were sleeping in their homes,” Mr. al-Hadidi said, speaking to Shehab, a news agency linked to Hamas. “They weren’t holding weapons, they weren’t firing rockets and they weren’t harming anyone.”

Shati is a crowded refugee camp north of Gaza City along the Mediterranean coast. With its jumble of buildings and alleyways beside the sea, Shati, also known as Beach camp, is the third-largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps.

Initially home to 23,000 refugees who fled Lydda, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva and other areas of Palestine in 1948, the camp has since grown to house more than 85,000 people. All of them reside in an area of about a fifth of a square mile, making it one of the most crowded places in the world, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as Unrwa, which works with Palestinian refugees.

Al Jazeera broadcast video of rescue teams using earth-moving trucks to clear the rubble of the home. Rescue workers were also seen climbing around the rubble in search of survivors, while graphic footage showed medics evacuating the bloodied victims.

At the edge of the rubble, under the harsh lights of the rescue teams, was Mr. al-Hadidi, howling at the ruins where his children’s bodies had been found. In one video of the scene posted on social media, he sways while several other men hold him up.

On Saturday afternoon, the rescue work had stopped, and the rubble from the house had been pushed to either side of Al-Soussi Mosque Street. Residents of the four neighboring homes were sweeping up the shattered glass and debris. Though they were so close to the house that was struck that they were nearly touching it, the other buildings were comparatively undamaged, suggesting a precision strike.

Airstrikes on Gaza had intensified after midnight, and when the missiles struck the home at about 2 a.m., some people in the neighborhood were awake, glued to the news.

News media footage on Saturday morning showed Mr. al-Hadidi visiting his infant son in the hospital, holding his small hand and kissing him as the child wails. “Oh, love,” he says to the infant, Omar. “Thank God, love.”

“This is an oppressive world that is standing by watching us and our children while massacres are taking place,” Mr. al-Hadidi said in the Shehab interview.

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Israeli-Palestinian Strife Widens as Frantic Calls for Calm Go Unheeded

CAIRO — Violence between Israelis and Palestinians expanded in new directions on Friday, with deadly clashes convulsing the occupied West Bank and anti-Israeli protests erupting along Israel’s borders with two Arab neighbors.

The widening sense of mayhem in Israel and the Palestinian territories came as Israeli airstrikes brought mass evacuations and funerals to Gaza, and as Hamas rockets singed Israeli towns for a fifth consecutive day.

Hamas and Israeli officials signaled they were open to discussing a cease-fire amid global calls for peace and frantic diplomacy aimed at heading off a further fracturing in one of the Middle East’s most intractable struggles.

But the violence, which has metastasized with startling velocity compared with previous Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, was finding new footholds and threatening the veneer of Israeli society in ways not seen before.

Power was down to five hours a day in some places, and water came out of the pipes only once every few days. Efforts to contain what had been a worsening coronavirus infection crisis in Gaza all but collapsed.

ground forces had attacked Gaza, later clarifying that the troops were firing from within Israel, and that none had entered the territory.

a 5-year-old boy killed by shrapnel on Wednesday despite having sheltered in a safe room.

On Thursday, his family was mourning at his funeral when the scream of sirens warned that, once again, Hamas rockets were on the way.

Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza City; Patrick Kingsley, Irit Pazner Garshowitz, Myra Noveck and Jonathan Rosen from Jerusalem; Rami Nazzal from Ramallah, West Bank; Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel; Adam Rasgon from Los Angeles; Rana F. Sweis from Amman, Jordan; and Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon.

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In Gaza, Airstrikes End in Civilian Casualties

On Thursday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, and the fourth day of the worst conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in years, Gaza City was silent with fear, except when it was loud with terror: the sudden smash of Israeli airstrikes, the whoosh of militants’ rockets arcing toward Israel, the shouts of people checking on one another, the last moans of the dying.

(Just after midnight on Friday, Israel announced that its ground forces had attacked Gaza.)

On what would ordinarily be a festive day of shopping and visiting friends, the streets of Gaza were nearly empty, save for a few heedless children playing in their new Eid outfits.

The shops that in better times do a brisk trade in nuts, chocolate and kaak cookies were shuttered, the crowds of thousands they normally serve huddled at home. Along streets usually loud with cafes offering juice, coffee and water pipes, only a few restaurants were open, and those only for delivery.

“There was life here, but now it’s horror,” said Maher Alyan, 55, who lives on the street where Mr. al-Hatu’s parents were killed, and who called an ambulance after the airstrikes. “It’s not a normal feeling, to see a guy dying in front of you.”

If there was an explanation for why missiles found their way to Al Mughrabi Street, it was not readily apparent to those who make their lives there.

It is a street of cinder block and concrete buildings, with tangles of power lines running over small storefronts. The laundry, the barbershop next door, a falafel shop and a pharmacy are down the street from where the al-Hatus’ taxi had parked. On Thursday, blood still smeared the pavement and the sidewalk.

One video taken after the first drone strike and posted on Facebook shows a white-hatted, bloodied man lying face down in an alleyway near the white Skoda, whose roof and right side were punched in as though with a giant fist, its back window shattered.

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