Israel bombs Gaza after rocket fire from besieged enclave

Israel bombs Gaza after rocket fire from besieged enclave
2 min read
13 June, 2019
Israel has hit southern Gaza on Thursday morning after a rocket fired from the besieged enclave.
Gaza is consistently subjected to Israeli air strikes [Getty]

Israeli warplanes bombed bunkers at a Hamas base in the besieged Gaza Strip early Thursday following the first rocket fire from the territory since early May when another war was feared of breaking out, the military said.

Israeli aircraft targeted "underground infrastructure" at the base in the southern Gaza Strip, it said in a statement.

The strike came after Israeli air defences intercepted a rocket launched from the territory, the first since hundreds were fired in early May in a two-day flare-up which killed 25 Palestinians and four Israelis.

On Wednesday evening, Israel announced it had banned all fishing off Gaza in retaliation for the launch of more incendiary balloons from the enclave.

"Due to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, it has been decided tonight (Wednesday) not to allow access to Gaza's maritime space until further notice," the Israeli defence ministry department responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, COGAT, said.

The move came after COGAT said on Tuesday it had reduced the extent of the fishing zone to six nautical miles offshore from ten nautical miles, having downscaled it from 15 nautical miles a week ago.

A spokesman for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires on Tuesday alone.

In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.

Israel had only restored the fishing limit to 15 miles on 4 June, after a previous cut in response to fire balloons.

Around 80 percent of Palestinians in impoverished Gaza are reliant on international aid, according to the United Nations.

Israel has been imposing a crippling siege on Gaza for 12 years, creating a major human catastrophe in the enclave.

In 2007, Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the strip, effectively turning the coastal enclave into an open-air prison, where basic necessities such as food, fuel and medicines are severely controlled.

Critics say the blockade amounts to collective punishment of the coastal enclave's two million residents. The UN says Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020, but human rights organisations say Gaza has already reached inhabitability.

Agencies contributed to this report.