Palestinians hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip September 21, 2018.
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the immediate halt to the transfer of fuel into the Gaza Strip following heavy rioting along the security fence on Friday, his office announced Friday evening.
According to a statement released by his office, four Israeli diesel tankers entered the Gaza Strip and shortly before the violent riots began along the border fence.
“Israel will not tolerate a situation in which fuel tankers are allowed to enter Gaza on the one hand, while terror and violence are used against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens on the other,” it said.
“In addition, Hamas continues to welcome any terrorist attack and encourages the Palestinians, residents of the West Bank, to carry out attacks against Israeli citizens. In light of all this, Defense Minister Lieberman decided to stop the flow of fuel to Gaza immediately.”
Qatari-bought fuel has been entering the Gaza Strip in recent days in an attempt to alleviate the conditions in the blockaded coastal enclave by powering Gaza’s sole power station. Israel has facilitated the delivery of hundreds of liters of fuel hoping that it would stem the weekly border clashes.
Last week, Liberman ordered the reduction of the Gaza fishing zone to 6 nautical miles on Saturday following violent protests along the security fence with Israel and warned that additional measures would be taken if the violence continued.
According to the IDF, some 20,000 Palestinians took part in violent riots along the border fence, throwing rocks, grenades, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices at troops as well as burning tires and launching incendiary aerial devices into southern Israel.
The IDF responded to the violence and attempted sabotage of the fence with crowd dispersal techniques in accordance with open-fire regulations.
Troops also identified several Palestinians who breached the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip and set off a bomb which set a section of the fence on fire. Immediately afterwards a group of 20 Palestinians were seen crossing the fence and approached an IDF sniper position, leading troops to open fire and kill several of them. The majority returned to the Strip.
“This terrorist attempt that was thwarted by an IDF force in a professional and rapid manner prevented attacks against civilians and security forces,” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
“The Hamas terrorist organization continues to lead to violent disturbances in an attempt to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. The IDF will not allow the fence to be turned into a zone of violence and subterranean warfare, and will continue to act to ensure the security of the residents of the State of Israel,” it added.
On Thursday, the military announced that it had destroyed a Hamas cross-border terror tunnel. The tunnel, which stretched from Khan Younis and 200 meters into Israel, was the 15th to be destroyed in the past year.
Palestinian news agency Wafa stated that at least six Gazans were killed on Friday and another 112 injured by live bullets or teargas.
Gaza’s Health Ministry has reported overy 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands others wounded since the outbreak of the Gaza border protests which began on March 30 and which call for an end of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians have also been launching incendiary aerial devices into southern Israel from the coastal enclave, burning more than 2,800 hectares of agricultural fields, forests and nature reserves.
On Friday, heavy fires from the burning tires in the southern Gaza Strip near the Kerem Shalom crossing prompted authorities to deploy large fans in an attempt to clear the smoke. Another 10 fires from incendiary devices were extinguished by firefighters.
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