Israel launches renewed airstrikes on Gaza despite truce

Israel launches second round of airstrikes on Gaza since ceasefire
3 min read
18 June, 2021
Israel launches a second round of airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday despite a ceasefire to end hostilities.
The airstrikes on Thursday are the second to hit Gaza since the ceasefire[Getty]

Israeli jets launched airstrikes on Gaza overnight Thursday to Friday, after balloons from the besieged enclave were sent into southern Israel.

AFP journalists in the Palestinian enclave reported hearing explosions, which the occupation army said hit sites in both Gaza City, and in Khan Yunis, in the south of Gaza.

It is unclear if there are any fatalities from the overnight strikes.

The airstrikes are the latest violations of a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers that came into place in May 21, ending 11 days of heavy fighting.

Israel's military launched a retaliatory wave of strikes early Wednesday, then launched a second round of strikes overnight Thursday to Friday to respond to the balloons.

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The balloons are basic devices intended to set fire to farmland and bush surrounding the Gaza enclave, though no injuries have been reported.

Israel army chief Aviv Kohavi late Thursday issued orders to increase occupying Israeli forces' "readiness and preparedness for a variety of scenarios including a resumption of hostilities," an army statement read.

Israeli forces "will continue to strike military capabilities and infrastructure belonging to the terror organisation and holds the Hamas as responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip," the statement added.

Israel's last offensive in Gaza killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children. The flare-up in violence last month saw occupying warplanes decimate residential and commercial buildings, including those housing global media networks such as Al Jazeera and The Associated Press.

Thousands of Palestinians in the already besieged Gaza Strip were left homeless due to the indiscriminate Israeli bombardment, which drew global scrutiny and calls for urgent action to halt the ongoing aggression against the native population.

This week, a human rights group filed a complain to the UN's Universal Post Union (UPU) over Israeli mail restrictions in Gaza, which have been slammed as a form of collective punishment.

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Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor labelled the complaint as being for UPU general director Bishar Abdirahman Hussein, according to its press release on the matter.

In the complaint, the group noted that since the deadly Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza last month, the Jewish state's authorities have strengthened their blockade of the Palestinian enclave.

Its note to the UPU said this includes "a blanket ban on mail delivery to and from Gaza" via the Erez crossing.

Euro-Med Monitor chairman Ramy Abdu said: "Israel's arbitrary and punitive suspension of mail delivery to/from Gaza represents an unacceptable and illegal act of collective punishment against a civilian population".

The organisation's complaint explained: "This abrupt suspension of mail delivery has harmed numerous people".

The complaint added that Israel "has long maintained unnecessary and punitive restrictions on postal services in Gaza, whereby only paper mail is allowed in/out of the enclave."

Israel has been blockading Gaza since 2006.