Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Gaza indendiary balloons spark 40 fires in southern Israel over weekend

Majed Khraishi was part of the Freedom Flotilla last month Majed Khraishi was part of the Freedom Flotilla last month
Gerardo Duncan | 07 August, 2018, 17:18

Palestinian relatives of Moaath al-Souri, who was shot and killed by Israeli troops on Friday's ongoing protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, mourn over his body at the family home during his funeral in Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 28, 2018.

No details have been released about the length of the delegation's visit to the Strip.

Between 30 March and 31 July 2018, 164 Palestinians were killed and over 17,000 injured by Israeli forces near the fence, in the context of the "Great March of Return" protests, hostilities and other incidents; one Israeli soldier was killed by Palestinians and 9 other Israelis were injured.

Israel insists its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.

They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Some flew kites with burning rags attached - a tactic that has widened in recent weeks, with the aim of setting fires in Israel, and has drawn Israeli retaliation.

"The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) clarified to the ship's passengers that they are violating the legal naval blockade and that any humanitarian merchandise can be transferred to Gaza through the (Israeli) Port of Ashdod", an Israeli military statement said.

Abdul-Latif Qanou, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement that the marches have become very close to achieving its goals.

It says some 8,000 Palestinians took part in a weekly border rally led by the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the territory.

Should the truce hold, a seaport and airport serving Gaza would be constructed on Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as a power plant.

The coalition said Friday that the Swedish-flagged vessel, Freedom, was almost 60 miles (95 kilometers) off the coast.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

The deputy head of Hamas's politburo, Saleh al-Arouri, arrived in the Gaza Strip late Thursday for talks focused on the ceasefire and renewed reconciliation efforts with Fatah.

Activists have organized several flotillas over the years aimed at breaking the blockade.

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