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Israel blocks aid to Gaza Strip in response to incendiary balloons

Photo of Israeli Defence Force Artillery Corps

Following a US-brokered agreement which normalized relationships between the UAE and Israel, Israel has responded to explosive-laden balloons released in protest by Hamas operatives by imposing a blockade on aid to the Gaza strip.

Human rights NGOs have widely condemned this blockade, describing it as an “another cynical move of continuous collective punishment, intended deliberately to hurt the Gaza Strip’s two million residents”. Criticism of the blockade also highlighted the damaging effects that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused, especially for Palestinians.

Haaretz reports that Qatari aid, which would reach the Gaza strip normally reaches funding of $30 million to Hamas on a monthly basis, has been blocked

Responding to over 60 fires in Israeli fields nearing the Gaza border, caused by explosive-laden balloons released by Hamas-affiliated operatives, the Israeli Defence Force has responded with military might launching attacks on Hamas bases, targeting the naval compound, underground infrastructure and observations posts. The IDF has detailed the use of fighter jets, attack helicopters and tanks being used against a Hamas post containing an aerial defence system.

Israel has also made further decisions of restricting the fishing zone by a decrease of 7 nautical miles and to stop all transfer of goods from the Erez land crossing. The Israeli government has closed several borders too, including the Kerem Shalom border on Monday and Rafah border which crosses with Egypt. The Rafah border reopened for three days on Tuesday for humanitarian reasons, and Palestinians were seen to queue for the required permits.

Read more from Haaretz here and here.

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