Israel blocks fuel supplies to Gaza over issue of incendiary balloons
TEL AVIV (ISRAEL) – In a tit-for-tat response to militants in Gaza launching incendiary balloons into Israel, Tel Aviv authorities on Thursday blocked the shipment of fuel to the enclave. The fiery balloons have scorched vast tracts of farmland along the Gaza-Israel border.
In a bid to put pressure on Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza, militants in the enclave ruled by Islamist Hamas launched helium balloons carrying incendiary material into Israel.
Israel blames Hamas for blocking Gaza via land and sea. It had also retaliated earlier by closing the Strip’s main commercial crossing and targeting Hamas facilities with fighter planes, helicopters and tanks.
Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered stopping the import of fuel into the enclave “in light of the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Strip” towards Israel.
According to Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, the blockade of fuel is a “grave act of aggression” that “aims to worsen the crisis of our people in the blockaded Strip”. The coastal enclave depends on Israel for most of its fuel and gas.
After a ceasefire agreement was brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the UN following a spurt in violence, Israel had announced new development projects, including an industrial zone and a hospital in Gaza.
Hamas has blamed Israel for not keeping its promise. On the other hand, Israeli authorities consider Hamas a terrorist organisation and avoid any direct negotiations. It has also never acknowledged the agreement.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field