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Monday, 21 September 2020

Hamas fires rockets into sea in 'message' to Israel

At least eight rockets were seen in the sky, heading toward the Mediterranean Sea, said AFP journalists in the coastal strip, which has been under Israeli blockade for more than a decade

AFP , Monday 10 Aug 2020
Gaza
This picture taken on August 10, 2020 from Gaza City shows a view of smoke trails from test rockets fired by the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement which currently controls the Gaza Strip, as part of military drills. AFP
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The Gaza Strip's rulers Hamas fired rockets into the sea on Monday after repeated exchanges of fire with Israel in recent days, Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said.

At least eight rockets were seen in the sky, heading toward the Mediterranean Sea, said AFP journalists in the coastal strip, which has been under Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

The interior ministry of the Palestinian enclave under Hamas control since 2007 referred to "an act of resistance".

The rockets were a "message" to Israel to let it know that armed groups in Gaza will not "remain silent" in the face of an Israeli blockade and "aggression", a source close to Hamas told AFP.

The source noted that Monday's rocket fire coincided with the recent launch of incendiary balloons into Israel.

In the past week, such balloons have flown three times from Gaza into Israel, each time triggering retaliatory strikes against Hamas positions.

The latest came Sunday night when the Israeli military announced that one of its aircraft had struck at a Hamas observation post in northern Gaza.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

Despite a truce last year, backed by the UN and Egypt, the two sides clash sporadically with rockets, mortar fire or incendiary balloons from Gaza and retaliatory strikes by Israel.

Palestinian analysts say fire from Gaza is often aimed at pressuring Israel to give the green light for the transfer of Qatari financial aid into the strip.

According to the World Bank, around 53 percent of Gaza's population lived below the poverty line just before the COVID-19 crisis.

That number could rise above 60 percent due to economic fallout from the pandemic, says the bank.

So far 78 cases of coronavirus, including one death, have been recorded in the enclave of two million people, where schools reopened this weekend after a five-month shutdown.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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