Thursday, July 31, 2014

Egypt denounces Israeli raids on Gaza, but keeps border closed

Mada Masr
Egypt denounces raids on Gaza, but keeps Rafah closed

Tuesday July 8, 2014

Egyptian authorities kept the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip closed for the sixth consecutive day, whilst the Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Badr Abdel Aty said on Tuesday, “Egypt denounces the chain of raids launched on Gaza.”

Tuesday marked the bloodiest day of Israel’s most recent attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. The death toll in Gaza reached at least 17 after the latest air strike killed six.

Meanwhile, sirens could be heard across Jerusalem after the Israeli Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip over Tel Aviv, the Anadolu Agency reported.

A statement released by the Jerusalem Municipality urged residents to “remain in protected areas for 10 minutes [after the sirens go off]. Sit on the floor under the window line against the most interior wall available, opposite any windows.”

Hamas had announced that rockets were launched targeting Israeli cities in response to the air strikes on Gaza. However, Israeli authorities reported that no casualties occurred as a result of the attacks on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the northern city of Haifa.

The only passageway in or out of Gaza remains closed, at Cairo’s behest, despite the ongoing aerial assaults ­— which are reported to have targeted more than 50 sites across this coastal enclave.

Nonetheless, the spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry decried Israel’s “collective punishment policy” and called on the Zionist state to exercise “self-restraint.”

The Rafah border crossing has predominantly been closed since July 3, 2013 — when Morsi was deposed by the Egyptian military — with rare exceptions made for Palestinian pilgrims, students, and medical/humanitarian cases.

Despite the ongoing violence, security forces have not allowed Palestinians to seek shelter or medical assistance in Egypt. Alternative routes are also limited, since Egypt’s authorities demolished nearly all the smuggling tunnels between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip in recent months.

On Tuesday, a host of Palestinian news websites and media outlets, along with some Egyptian solidarity groups, called on the authorities in Cairo to allow for the re-opening of the Rafah border crossing in light of the present crisis.

According to Abdel Aty’s statement, posted on the State Information Service website, “Egypt totally rejects and condemns all violence that results in the killing of civilians from both sides.”

For nearly three weeks, Palestinian armed groups — particularly the Islamic resistance group Hamas — have been engaged in rocket and mortar attacks targeting southern Israel. These primitive rocket attacks have not resulted in any Israeli fatalities, although property damage has been reported.

In response, Israeli armed forces launched “Operation Protective Edge” against Palestinian targets in Gaza. A host of civilian casualties are being reported.

A new wave of violence erupted between the Zionist state and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since three Jewish teenage settlers disappeared on June 12.

Their dead bodies were discovered in the West Bank on June 30. Israeli authorities have blamed Hamas for the kidnapping and deaths of the three teens.

In their rescue attempts, Israeli forces searched and raided hundreds of Palestinian properties across the West Bank. Over 300 Palestinians are reported to have been arrested in the course of these operations.

In a revenge attack a Palestinian teenager was kidnapped from the West Bank and reportedly burnt alive. His remains were found on July 2.

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