Israel launches fresh airstrikes on the Gaza strip

June 17, 2021 - 15:19

TEHRAN-- Israeli warplanes have pounded the besieged Gaza Strip, the first such attacks since an 11-day war on the enclave ended last month with a fragile ceasefire. The Israeli regime says it targeted sites in Gaza City and the southern city of Khan Younis. The Israeli military claims the airstrikes were in response to incendiary balloons that had been launched from the territory and landed on Israeli settlements south of the Gaza Strip.

 A spokesman for the Hamas movement says Palestinians will continue their “brave sacrifice and defend their rights and holy sites” in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. There have been no reports of casualties on either side. The strikes on Gaza are also the first since the coalition of new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet came to power, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure in office. Netanyahu’s term in office ended with indiscriminate airstrikes on the Gaza Strip that killed more than 260, including 66 children. 

The Palestinian resistance had vowed to respond after thousands of Israeli settlers participated in the so-called fly the flag parade. The march normally goes to sites holy to Muslims and Christians, including the holy al-Aqsa mosque compound. At the last minute, Israeli authorities diverted the route to avoid these areas.

The turnout is reported to have been less than expected. Palestinian officials have viewed this as a victory and a new deterrent following their operation dubbed sword of al-Quds, launched in response to provocative Israeli actions at the al-Aqsa mosque and the forcible removal of Palestinians from the Shiekh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. The operation took Tel Aviv by surprise with barrages of missiles fired at the city and other settlements in Israel. But the march itself proved to be still disturbing. Chants by the settlers of “death to Arabs” echoed in the alleyways of the old city where Palestinian merchants shut down their shops.

The provocative march triggered protests across many flashpoints of the occupied West Bank that were met with Israeli tear gas. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds with rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades, and physically assaulted them.

The Palestinian Red Crescent says at least 33 protesters had been injured in areas around the city’s Damascus Gate. Israeli forces say they arrested at least 17 Palestinians. The annual march in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds marks Israel’s military operations in 1967 that resulted in the occupation of the holy city’s eastern part. Palestinians view it as highly provocative and part of Israeli measures to remove the Palestinian identity to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, which they regard as the capital of their country. The Israeli occupation and annexation of eastern Jerusalem al-Quds are viewed as illegal by the international community.

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