Turkey condemns Israeli airstrikes on Gaza despite normalisation

Turkey condemns Israeli airstrikes on Gaza despite normalisation
2 min read
23 August, 2016
Turkey on Monday condemned Israeli airstrikes on Gaza after normalising relations with Tel Aviv, saying it will not remain silent in the face of such attacks against Palestinians.
Israel pounded several locations in Gaza [AFP]
Israel said Monday it staged dozens of strikes on Gaza in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian strip, sparking a war of words with Turkey.

"We conducted strikes against several dozen targets in the Gaza Strip" on Sunday, an army spokeswoman told AFP.

Palestinian medical officials said four people were wounded by Israeli aircraft and tank fire after a rocket fired from Gaza hit the southern Israeli town of Sderot, without causing any casualties.

Security sources in the coastal strip said several targets in northern Gaza were hit by Israeli fire, and that a reservoir in the town of Beit Hanun was destroyed.

Bases of Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, as well as of two smaller militant groups were hit, the sources said.

Turkey, whose parliament on Friday night ratified normalisation of ties with Israel after a six-year rift, slammed the Israeli strikes.

"We strongly condemn these disproportionate attacks," its foreign ministry said in a statement.
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"These attacks, which caused injury to innocent Palestinian civilians, are unacceptable whatever prompted them."

Turkey's ruling AKP party has friendly ties with Gaza's Hamas rulers, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause.

"The normalisation of our country's relations with Israel does not mean we will stay silent in the face of such attacks against the Palestinian people," the Turkish statement added.

Israel was quick to respond in kind.

"The normalisation of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless
condemnations," said its foreign ministry.

Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day war in the summer of 2014 leading to at least 2,000 Palestinian dead, the vast majority civilian.

Since then, a cease-fire has largely held but some Gaza-based militant groups occasionally launch crude rockets toward Israel.

This was the first time downtown Sderot has been hit by rocketfire from Gaza since the 2014 war.

Israel holds Gaza's Hamas authority responsible for all rockets fired from the besieged territory.