PROTESTS have been held in Oldham to show solidarity with the people of Palestine amid fears Israel and the Palestinians are sliding towards all-out war.

In recent days rockets have been fired from Gaza while Israeli forces have bombarded the territory with air strikes in the most serious fighting since the 50-day war in 2014.

In Oldham, this week activists gathered outside the Elbit Ferranti factory in Waterhead on Greenacres Road with banners reading “Elbit Ferranti stop arming Israel”.

The plants have been repeatedly targeted by protestors who claim the business is involved in the supply of weapons used by the Israeli military against Palestinians.

The latest upsurge in violence in the Middle East has been triggered by tensions in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A focal point was the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a holy site sacred to both Jews and Muslims, while there were also clashes over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrar neighbourhood of east Jerusalem.

Taking to Facebook the group Oldham Peace and Justice, wrote in a post on Wednesday: “So many in Oldham today sending a message that the Elbit Ferranti Weapons factory, who profit from Israel's enormous violence and killing against Palestinians in Gaza, Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah village is not welcome.

“We marched to the factory, home in the North of Elbit Systems who produce 85 per cent of the drones Israel uses to bomb Gaza, like in the last few days when they were used in the killing of 9 children - 9 children killed in Gaza in a few days. Nobody should accept companies complicit in this continuing murder of children.”

On Wednesday, as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures were killed as Israel pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive, while Hamas and other groups showed no signs of backing down and fired rockets at Israeli cities.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 69 Palestinians, including 16 children and six women, according to the health ministry.

A total of seven people have been killed in Israel, including four on Wednesday.

Preparations for Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of a month of day-long fasting, have been sombre in Gaza, as residents brace themselves for further devastation and unrest.