ISRAELI war planes pounded Hamas positions in Gaza yesterday with a series of air strikes.
They said they were responding to the launch of 28 mortars by Hamas, most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.
Israel responded with multiple air strikes. Israel also fired at least 10 artillery shells at sites east of Gaza City causing severe damage. The latest Israeli bombing raid is the heaviest since the 50-day war launched by Israel on Gaza in 2014.
It follows weeks of Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza. During ‘The Great March of Return’ campaign, over 100 Palestinians were shot dead by snipers demonstrating on the Gaza border. Tens of thousands of Palestinians massed on the Gaza-Israel border every Friday during April demanding the world recognises the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the right for all Palestinian refugees to return.
The biggest massacre took place on the day before Nakba Day as US President Trump opened the US embassy in Jerusalem. Human rights officials have accused Israel of war crimes for gunning down 52 Palestinians on that day alone. A Palestinian was killed on Monday after Israeli soldiers caught a group attempting to breach the border, while on Sunday three Palestinians were killed after placing an explosive device on the border fence.
Meanwhile, two boats carrying 25 Palestinians have set off from Gaza’s port with the intention of reaching Cyprus, defying the 12-year siege of Gaza. The flotilla carrying at least 25 patients, students and activists has broken Israel’s imposed boundary off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the first time in more than a decade.
The group set sail yesterday morning from the besieged Gaza Strip, hoping to break Israel’s debilitating siege on the enclave that has trapped more than two million Palestinians since 2006.
By mid-day, the boat had crossed nine nautical miles (16km), with four Israeli warships flanking the vessel. ‘We’re surrounded by Israeli warships to the left, the right, to our front and from behind. We’re stuck in the middle,’ an activist on the flotilla told reporters.
Tuesday’s flotilla carried patients, students, and protesters who had been injured in the weeks-long demonstrations all hoping to reach Limassol, Cyprus, which lies north of Gaza. Organisers said that all of those on board had valid passports, with the injured having made arrangements to receive medical treatment in Turkey.