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Israel Suspends Qatar Aid to Gaza after Latest Strikes

Israel Suspends Qatar Aid to Gaza after Latest Strikes

Monday, 7 January, 2019 - 09:15
Israel carries out strikes against Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

Israel carried out on Monday new strikes against the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket being fired over its border. The development prompted the Israeli government to suspend the transfer of the third Qatari aid grant to Gaza.

A Hamas security official in Gaza said that Israeli aircraft carried out three raids, targeting a position of the armed wing of the movement near Beit Lahia in the north of the Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli air defense system intercepted a Hamas rocket which was fired overnight from the coastal enclave, the army said.

Planes and a helicopter gunship then raided "terror targets within the organization's military camp in the northern Gaza Strip," the statement said.

There were no reported injuries on either side.

The latest raids follow strikes by the Israeli army on two Hamas posts on Sunday, after balloons carried an explosive device over the border fence.

The exchange marked a brief flare up two months after a massive wave of rocket attacks led to fierce Israeli retaliation and nearly brought the region toward another war. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade.

Following Sunday's strikes, the Israeli army statement said: "Earlier today, an explosive device attached to multiple balloons was launched on a model airplane from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

"In response, (Israeli) attack helicopters targeted two Hamas military posts in the Gaza Strip."

A Hamas security source said one strike occurred east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip and hit an observation point for Hamas's armed wing, while the second was east of Gaza City.

The security source said no injuries had been reported.

Israeli media said Monday that the government suspended the third Gaza grant, worth 15 million dollars. Sources said that the decision was taken in wake of the recent rocket fire.

Israel had allowed two previous transfers, also worth 15 million dollars each, into Gaza. The move enraged the Palestinian Authority and sparked intense criticism against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli sources said: “This will not happen again. There will not be a third transfer.”

“Netanyahu ordered the suspension of the third transfer,” they said according to Israel’s Channel 20.

The Israeli military said it holds Hamas responsible for all rockets emanating from its territory. Hamas has ruled Gaza since it seized control of the coastal territory in 2007.

Since March, protests and clashes have occurred along the Gaza border fence.

Protesters have been calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

At least 240 Palestinians have been killed since the demonstrations began, most of them by Israeli fire during border clashes but also by air and tank strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.

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