Early on Wednesday, June 16, Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza city and in the southern town of Khan Younis inside the besieged Gaza strip. There is no report of any casualties so far.
The Israeli security forces claimed that the airstrikes were in response to the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza into southern Israel. They also claimed that the balloons caused fires in the fields.
🚨#Breaking: After today’s provocative March of Israeli flags in occupied #Jerusalem, Israel is NOW bombing #Gaza (1:00 am local #Palestine time) It appears that Israeli once again has violated international law and broken the terms of the “ceasefire”. #GazaUnderAttack @UN https://t.co/61zpifIPMy
— State of Palestine (@Palestine_UN) June 15, 2021
The attacks are the first violation of the ceasefire deal reached on May 20 which ended the 11-day long Israeli offensive inside the Gaza strip which killed more than 250 Palestinians, injured hundreds and caused massive destruction of civilian infrastructure.
The new offensive is also the first under the new government in Israel led by Naftali Bennett. Under his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, hundreds of such attacks were carried out from 2006 when Israel imposed a comprehensive land, air and sea blockade of the Gaza strip which is controlled by Hamas.
In a statement given to Reuters, the Hamas spokesperson confirmed the attacks by Israel and vowed to continue the resistance against occupation and “defend their rights and sacred sites” in the occupied Eastern Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, Israeli government allowed an ultra right-wing march called “the march of the flags” across East Jerusalem which saw the participation of thousands of extremist Jews shouting racist slogans such as “death to Arabs.” The participants also attacked Palestinians staging counter demonstrations at several places inside the city, including at the Damascus gate. Israeli security forces used heavy force to disperse the Palestinian protesters, wounding dozens of them and arresting at least 17.
The “flag march,” set to be held today, celebrates Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem. Palestinians are forced to close down their shops by Israeli police to make way for marauding crowds of extremists shouting “Death to Arabs.” This is what apartheid looks like: https://t.co/U2OWeexd1f
— IMEU (@theIMEU) June 15, 2021
On Tuesday, thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza strip took out a march protesting against the continued settler violence inside East Jerusalem and against the so-called “march of the flags.” Protesters shouted slogans against the occupation and burned the photos of Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and current prime minister Naftali Bennett.
Hundreds of Palestinians protested throughout several cities and towns in the Gaza Strip against the Israeli nationalist march in occupied East Jerusalem.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 15, 2021
East Jerusalem has been in constant turmoil following the attempts by the occupying authorities to evict several Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and other neighborhoods in the old city. Israeli forces have twice stormed the Al-Aqsa compound inside the old city.