Hamas fires projectiles after Israel strikes Gaza refugee camp

Hamas fires projectiles after Israel strikes Gaza refugee camp
2 min read
27 June, 2018
Hamas fired a dozen projectiles overnight after Israeli strikes targeted a car belonging to a Hamas operative in Gaza.
Israel has been condemned for its disproportionate response to Gaza border protests [Getty]
Israel struck a Gaza refugee camp late on Tuesday, targeting a car belonging to a Hamas operative, prompting militants to fire a dozen rockets into Israel in response.

Israeli aircraft and a tank struck the vehicle in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, where local residents said the car exploded in a ball of flames. A picture posted on social media showed a fireball in an alleyway said to be the car that had been hit. 

A statement by the Israeli military said the car had belonged to a militant "heavily involved in launching arson and explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip into Israel". Two Hamas observation posts were also hit, it added.

No casualties were reported.

The incendiary balloons, as well as kites, have become a potent symbol of a wave of Palestinian protests that broke out on 30 March against Israel's crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza.

No one has been hurt by the fires, but the flames - stoked by Mediterranean winds - have cause huge crop losses, Israel has claimed.

Overnight on Wednesday, 13 projectiles were fired at Israel, the country's military said, which caused no casualties or damage.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in Gaza said Israel's targeting of the car had "merited a quick response" in the firing of the rockets and showed armed factions were ready to "defend our people and protect their interests".

"Every silly measure taken by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians proves the failure of the Israeli policies and miscalculation of the Israeli plans," Barhoum added in an English-language statement. 

Three projectiles were destroyed in flight by Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, an army spokesman told AFP.

Since 30 March, Gazans have been demonstrating along the heavily guarded border in protest at Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of the Palestinians' right to return to lands they fled or were expelled from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

The demonstrations peaked when at least 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops as Washington delegates attended the inauguration of the relocated US embassy in the disputed city of Jerusalem on 14 May. No Israelis have been killed during the protests.

Israel insists the whole of Jerusalem is its "eternal indivisible capital" but the Palestinians claim the eastern sector, which Israel occupied in the war of 1967 and later illegally annexed, as the capital of their future state.