Israel closes roads to Gaza Strip after new missile attacks
Cargo trucks arrive at the Kerem Shalom intersection in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, August 15, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)
The missile attacks took place on the night of April 22 and the morning of April 23, after clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem occurred and a month of deadly violence.
The unrest, which comes as the Jewish festival of Passover coincides with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, has raised fears of international conflict, a year after similar violence led to fighting. 11 days between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
“After rockets were fired towards Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip last night, Israel has decided that Gaza merchants and workers will not be allowed to pass through the Erez Crossing from April 24,” COGAT, a unit of the Israeli Defense Ministry responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, said in a statement on April 23.
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on the night of April 22. One rocket hit a Jewish community and the other landed near a residential area in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.
According to the Israeli military, a third missile was fired into Israeli territory on the morning of April 23, while there were no air raid sirens activated for any launches.
On April 22, Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters at the Al-Aqsa mosque, leaving at least one man hospitalized in serious condition.
Israel has responded to the attacks with airstrikes, but with an apparent desire to increase deterrence of violence. This time, Israel responded with the strong economic (sanction) measure of closing the Erez Crossing and implying that further missile launches would prolong the sanctions period.
Smoke rises during an Israeli air strike amid an outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine, in the southern Gaza Strip, April 19, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)
COGAT added in its statement: “The reopening of the route will be decided based on an assessment of the actual security situation.”
More than 200 people, mostly Palestinians, have been injured in clashes with Israel in and around the Al-Aqsa area over the past week.
Palestinians have expressed outrage at the massive deployment of Israeli police, and some Jews have come to the holy site to pray there.
On April 22, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that 57 people were injured after police stormed a housing complex in the Old City of Jerusalem, east of Jerusalem annexed by Israel as Palestinians began hurling stones at the Great Wall. the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews could pray.
And after midday prayers, some agitated Muslims attempted to vandalize an Israeli police headquarters. In response, Israeli police used drones to spray tear gas from the air.
Al-Aqsa is Islam’s third holiest site, and the holiest site in Judaism, where it is known as the Temple Mount.
By age-old convention, Jews are allowed to visit under certain conditions but are not allowed to pray there.
The escalating unrest concerns the United Nations. On April 21, the United Nations requested an investigation into the actions of the Israeli police.
“The use of force by Israeli police resulted in widespread injury to worshipers and staff in and around the church compound,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Al-Aqsa Islam must be investigated in a timely, impartial, independent and transparent manner.”
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