The Israeli occupation forces launched aerial and ground attacks against targets across the Gaza Strip for a second night in a row, while Tel Aviv tightens its grip on the blockaded territory’s fishing activities and fuel imports.
It claimed in a statement that warplanes, attack helicopters, and tanks struck a number of positions belonging to the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, which runs the territory, early Thursday.
Reports coming out of Gaza and videos of the strikes that circulated online, however, showed residential buildings and agricultural land have also been hit.
Gaza-based media said the strikes hit targets across the Gaza Strip from Rafah in the southern part of the occupied territory to Beit Hanoun in the north.
The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza over the past several days.
According to the report, dozens of balloon-borne devices were launched into southern parts of the occupied territories on Tuesday and Wednesday, igniting over 80 fires.
Flying fiery kites and balloons has become a new mode of protests by Gazans since March 2018, when the Tel Aviv regime began a crackdown against anti-occupation demonstrations near the fence separating Gaza from the Israeli-occupied land, killing and injuring many people.
Israel, however, blames the launch of incendiary balloons on Hamas.
IOA targets fuel supplies to Gaza & cuts Gaza fishing limits
Hours after the raids, Israel occupation authorities also announced Thursday that it was halting the “import of fuel into the Gaza Strip.”
Gaza media also said Israel banned fuel from entering the Kerem Shalom crossing between the southern Gaza Strip and the occupied territories until further notice.
On Monday, Israel closed Kerem Shalom to commercial traffic with exceptions for fuel, food and humanitarian goods.
A day earlier, Israel had also slashed Gaza’s permitted fishing zone.
COGAT, an Israeli military body, said the fishing zone would be halved from 15 nautical miles to eight.
The restriction on the Gaza fishing zone would remain in place “until further notice,” it said.
Under the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, Israel is obligated to permit fishing up to 20 nautical miles, but this has never been implemented.
Israel maintains a heavy naval presence off the coast of the impoverished Palestinian enclave, severely affecting the livelihood of some 4,000 fishermen and at least 1,500 more people involved in the fishing industry.
Over the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats.
The economy of Gaza has also suffered from years of Israeli and Egyptian blockades.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. It has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Israel has launched three major wars against the enclave, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.