Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Israel fires into Gaza after Palestinian attack

Israel fires into Gaza after Palestinian attack

Protesters demand the "right of return" to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

The protests on Friday occurred a day after a senior Hamas delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip from Egypt to discuss a possible cease-fire with Israel and resume internal reconciliation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party.

United Nations officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas where 80 per cent of the two million population are dependent on aid.

A number of Palestinians "infiltrated" Israel and threw firebombs and "an explosive device" before returning to Gaza, it said.

According to a press release from the administration of the Rafah border crossing, an Arouri-led delegation including leading group members Mousa Abu Marzouk, Izzat al Rishq and Hussam Badran crossed the border into the Gaza Strip.

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In a statement, the Israeli military said the vessel was carrying 12 people and had been taken to the port of Ashdod.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called off a planned trip to South America and scheduled a meeting of his security Cabinet for Sunday to monitor Gaza developments.

Since the Gaza rallies began on March 30, 155 Palestinian protesters have been martyred by Israeli army gunfire.

It is the 19th consecutive anti-Israel Friday protests since March 30, the first day of the ongoing Palestinian "Great March of Return" rally against Israel's 11-year crippling blockade and the US embassy move to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.

Worldwide experts and aid organizations including the United Nations have repeatedly called the Israeli policy a collective punishment against Gazans for what Israel perceives as a threat by the Islamic Resistance group Hamas.

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It said a tank struck a Hamas post in response. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

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

The 12 activists on-board the "Freedom for Gaza" boat were attempting to bring urgently needed medical supplies to Gaza, when the vessel was intercepted by the Israeli navy in global waters.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

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