IDF strikes Hamas tunnel, Gaza targets after heavy damage at key crossing

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Hundreds of Palestinians gathered on the Gaza border Friday for the sixth week of protests in which dozens have already been killed by Israeli fire. IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the army chose to hit the tunnel with airstrikes, as opposed to more effective ground-based methods, because of a number of operational considerations, including "convenience" and the issues posed by its proximity to the Erez Crossing. Later, a group of Palestinians burned a fuel complex and conveyor belt on their side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, causing more than $9 million in damages and disrupting the import of diesel fuel and building materials, the military said. More than two-thirds of Gaza residents are descendants of refugees.

The Nakba will be protested with various activities - which will take place in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in Arab villages inside Israel - including seminars, marches and protests, according to organizers from the National Committee for the Commemoration of the Nakba.

The tactic was introduced as part of the weekly "March of Return" demonstrations at the border fence, which began on March 30 and are due to culminate next week when the United States moves its embassy to Jerusalem.

Conricus said the tunnel was located using the army's "new technological capability", which the IDF has said it used to uncover the five cross-border tunnels.


The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world.

"Some petrol stations have storage for maybe a day or two, so the crisis will begin by Monday or Tuesday should the crossing remained closed", he said.

Friday's demonstration was dubbed "Preparedness and Foreboding Friday", in anticipation of the final protest of the march early next week.

At previous peace talks, the Palestinians have always demanded, along with sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Old City, a "right of return" to Israel for Palestinian refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when it was established. While the official date is May 15, the protest is scheduled for May 14, to avoid conflicting with the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Troops were searching for the driver who fled the scene, suspecting it was possibly a Palestinian, as they have used cars as weapons in recent years.


Friday marked the seventh weekly border protest since late March.

This was the ninth Gaza tunnel destroyed by Israel since October 30, five of which crossed the border into Israeli territory, the rest inside the coastal enclave. Israel says it has a right to defend its border and has accused Hamas of using the protests as a cover for attacking the border.

Deifallah, who is unemployed like nearly half the Gaza labor force, said he would also join Monday's protest and is not afraid to die.

Egypt opens the crossing from time to time, mainly to allow people in special categories, including medical patients and Gaza residents studying overseas, to leave the territory or return to it.


The mass protests are being encouraged by the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, and whose leaders say their goal is the erase the border and "liberate Palestine".

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