Israel blocks Gaza fuel supply over fire balloons

Balloons with attached incendiary devices are flown over the Gaza border by Palestinian demonstrators seeking to start fires in nearby Israeli farmland. (AFP)
Updated 25 June 2019
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Israel blocks Gaza fuel supply over fire balloons

  • Fuel transfers were halted at the Karem Shalom goods crossing on Tuesday morning and would remain blocked ‘until further notice’

JERUSALEM: Israel blocked fuel deliveries to the Gaza Strip Tuesday, citing new incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave.
The move follows “the release of arson balloons from the Gaza Strip toward the State of Israel” which caused fires across the border, the Israeli defense ministry department responsible for Palestinian civil affairs said.
Fuel transfers were halted at the Karem Shalom goods crossing on Tuesday morning and would remain blocked “until further notice,” COGAT said in a statement.
Balloons with attached incendiary devices are flown over the Gaza border by Palestinian demonstrators seeking to start fires in nearby Israeli farmland.
During regular demonstrations last year, the balloons started hundreds of fires, though they have been curbed in recent months.
Fuel deliveries, which are coordinated with the United Nations and paid for by Gulf state Qatar, were agreed in late 2018 as part of a truce agreement between Israel and the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
They have improved electricity supply in the strip, where residents currently receive around 12 hours of power a day, according to the UN.
Before the deal, the daily power supply was regularly as low as six hours.
Israel has maintained a crippling blockade of Gaza for more than a decade.
It says it is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which the Jewish state has fought three wars, but critics label it collective punishment of Gaza’s two million residents.


Bus bombing kills 9 people, injures 6 near Iraqi city of Kerbala

Updated 20 September 2019

Bus bombing kills 9 people, injures 6 near Iraqi city of Kerbala

KERBALA, Iraq: A bus bombing killed at least nine people and wounded another six on Friday near Iraq's holy city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad, local police said.
An explosive device planted on the bus detonated at a northern entrance to the city, setting fire to the vehicle, two police spokesmen in the area said.
They said the wounded were rushed to hospital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
Such attacks in the mostly Shiite Muslim south of Iraq have been rare in recent years, especially after the territorial defeat of Daesh in Iraq in 2017 and the routing of its Al-Qaeda predecessors in the mid-2000s.
Daesh insurgents have continued to carry out regular attacks mostly against security forces in the north of the country, however.