Gaza- Israel shuts down the Gaza Strip’s border crossing that hosts most imports into the Tel Aviv-besieged territory as a punitive measure against alleged launches of “incendiary balloons” from the Palestinian enclave towards the occupied territories.
The Kerem Shalom Crossing was closed on Tuesday after at least four rounds of aerial and ground attacks against the territory under the same pretext.
Before closing the terminal, the regime claimed that more than 30 fires had erupted across Gaza’s border with the occupied territories as a result of the alleged balloon launch, Reuters reported.
“Kerem Shalom Crossing will be closed for the passage of all goods, with the exception of the entry of essential humanitarian equipment and fuel,” Israel’s Ministry of Military Affairs said in a statement.
Palestinian officials said the closure in particular affected construction materials.
Tel Aviv besieged Gaza in 2007 after the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas rose to power there. Ever since, the enclave has been receiving its bare essentials through Kerem Shalom as well as two other crossings, including one with Egypt, which is being strictly controlled by Cairo.
Last Monday, the regime launched a set of airstrikes on Gaza, accusing Hamas of flying fire balloons towards the occupied territories.
The regime repeated the strikes on Thursday and this Monday. The aerial bombardments were intervened by a round of tank fire targeting the territory on Sunday.
Hamas, which has been defending Gaza against such repeated incursions, has called the increase in Israeli violence “a message of escalation and aggression” and an attempt by the Israeli regime “to export its internal crises to the strip.”
The escalation comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is entangled in a political and legitimacy crisis that boils down to his trial on charges bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Israelis regularly hold thousands-strong rallies outside his residence, asking him to step down.
In recent weeks, thousands of protesters have also rallied, mainly in Tel Aviv and the holy occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds, against Netanyahu’s mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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