Saturday, 31 July, 2021


Israel strikes in Gaza after arson attacks

Illustrative The IDF carries out overnight raids in the West Bank Illustrative The IDF carries out overnight raids in the West Bank
Melba Vasquez | 16 June, 2021, 10:11

Tuesday's conflict was sparked by a march in East Jerusalem.

Rallies by far-right Jewish groups in Arab neighbourhoods have raised tensions in recent months, prompting a police intervention in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound that triggered the deadliest flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence since 2014.

The Israeli Defense Force said that in response to the "arson balloons", its "fighter jets struck military compounds belonging to the Hamas terror organization".

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said about 2,000 police would be deployed.

Mansour Abbas, whose four-seat Raam Islamic party was vital to the coalition, called Tuesday's march a "provocation" that should have been cancelled.

"The flags march is like an explosive that will cause a new campaign to protect Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to ignite", Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif Qanou said in a statement Monday. The Palestinians consider the march a provocation. "The nation and the resistance are behind you in the effort to thwart the plans of occupation", Qanou said.

Israel says it has launched air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, after incendiary balloons were launched from the territory.

The march comes just two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted from 12 straight years in power, toppled by an ideologically divided coalition including, for the first time in Israel's history, an Arab party.

"We warn of the risky repercussions that may result from the occupying Power's intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem tomorrow, a provocation and aggression against our people/ Jerusalem and its sanctities that must end", Shtayyeh tweeted.

Sputnik is live from East Jerusalem, Israel, where a number of Israeli groups are marching in a flag-waving procession to commemorate the capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Israeli Knesset members Bezalel Smotrich, center, waves an Israeli flag together with other Jewish ultranationalists during the Flags March.

He was referring to the so-called Flag March to be held in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, which was called for by settler nationalists and approved by the new Israeli government.

Ahead of the march Tuesday, militants in Gaza sent incendiary balloons over the border.

The airstrikes, incendiary balloons and march underscored the fragility of the tenuous truce that ended last month's 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, as well as the challenges facing Israel's new government.

Prior to the meeting, Barlev said that "in a democracy, it is allowed and important to demonstrate within the confines of the law", adding that "we will operate according to the recommendations of the police". "We warn that this incident will likely reignite the region and will lead to violence and a unsafe escalation", the party wrote.

From the Damascus Gate, they proceeded around the Old City to the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

Israeli media reported that police will allow participants to congregate outside the Old City's Damascus Gate but will not let them cross through it to the Muslim Quarter, which has an overwhelmingly Palestinian population. Palestinian protesters repeatedly clashed with Israeli police over restrictions on public gatherings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in April and May.

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