Israel closes Gaza border crossings after Palestinian rally

Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the group's founding, in Gaza City, on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Israel closes Gaza border crossings after Palestinian rally

JERUSALEM: Israel announced the closure of its Gaza border crossings on Thursday in response to daily rocket fire from the enclave over the past week after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital stoked Palestinian anger.
Israeli aircraft struck three facilities belonging to Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip, before dawn on Thursday after the latest rocket attacks, Israel’s military said.
It said it targeted training camps and weapons storage compounds. Hamas usually evacuates such facilities when border tensions spike.
Two of the rockets fired were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and a third exploded in an open area. There were no reports of casualties on either side of the frontier.
The military said in a statement that “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments” Kerem Shalom crossing — the main passage point for goods entering the Gaza Strip, and the Erez pedestrian crossing — would be shut as of Thursday. It did not say how long the closure would last.
Some 15 rockets have been fired into southern Israel since Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement, and none of the projectiles has caused serious injury or damage.
The attacks have drawn Israeli airstrikes that have killed two Hamas gunmen. Two other Palestinians have been killed in confrontations with Israeli troops during stone-throwing protests along the border.
Israeli Cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Israel Radio that while Hamas, which last fought a war with Israel in 2014, was not carrying out the rocket strikes, it needed to rein in militants from “breakaway groups” or it would “find itself in a situation where it has to contend” with the Israeli military.
In Istanbul on Wednesday, a summit of more than 50 Muslim countries condemned Trump’s move and called on the world to respond by recognizing East Jerusalem, captured by Israel along with the West Bank in a 1967 war, as the capital of Palestine.
Trump’s declaration has been applauded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a recognition of political reality and Jews’s biblical links to Jerusalem, a city that is also holy to Muslims and Christians.


Coalition airstrike targets mosque used by Daesh

Updated 21 October 2018
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Coalition airstrike targets mosque used by Daesh

  • The coalition said the use of the mosque as a headquarters by Daesh caused it to lose its protected status
  • The coalition says Daesh deliberately chose the mosque and repeatedly used it to plan and coordinate attacks

AL-UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar: The US-led coalition fighting the Daesh group says an airstrike on a mosque in Syria targeted an insurgent command and control center and killed a dozen fighters.
The coalition in a statement says that while the law of war protects mosques, the use of the building as a headquarters by Daesh caused it to lose that protected status.
Syrian state media and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said last week that strikes in Sousa near the Iraq border killed and wounded dozens, including civilians and Daesh fighters.
The coalition says Daesh deliberately chose the mosque and repeatedly used it to plan and coordinate attacks on US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Sousa is in the last Daesh-held pocket in Syria where those forces have been fighting extremists for weeks.