On Thursday Israel announced its decision to close the Gaza border crossings due to the daily rocket fire from the enclave over the past week after US President Donald Trump decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which fueled anger in Palestine.
Before dawn on Thursday, after the latest rocket attacks, Israeli aircraft struck three facilities belonging to Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip- Israel’s military said.
It said its main targets were training camps and weapons storage compounds. Hamas usually evacuates such facilities when border tensions spike.
Two of the rockets fired were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and a third exploded in an open area. Fortunately, there were no reports of casualties on either side of the frontier.
The military said in a statement, “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments” Kerem Shalom crossing — the main passage point for goods entering the Gaza Strip, and the Erez pedestrian crossing — would be shut as of Thursday. How long the closure would last, is unknown.
Around 15 rockets have been fired into southern Israel since Trump’s announcement, and none of the projectiles has caused serious injury or damage.
The attacks have led to Israeli airstrikes that have killed two Hamas gunmen. Two other Palestinians have been killed in confrontations with Israeli troops during stone-throwing protests along the border.
Israeli Cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Israel Radio that while Hamas, which last fought a war with Israel in 2014, was not carrying out the rocket strikes, it needed to rein in militants from “breakaway groups” or it would “find itself in a situation where it has to contend” with the Israeli military.
In Istanbul on Wednesday, a summit of more than 50 Muslim countries abominated Trump’s move and called on the world to respond by recognizing East Jerusalem, captured by Israel along with the West Bank in a 1967 war, as the capital of Palestine.
Trump’s declaration has been applauded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a recognition of political reality and Jews’s biblical links to Jerusalem, a city that is holy to both Muslims and Christians.
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