Netanyahu Slashes Gaza Fuel Imports in Half After Fourth Rocket Attack This Month

The reduced imports will continue until further notice, and will have a significant impact on electricity in the Gaza Strip

File photo: A Palestinian fills a fuel container in the Gaza strip, October 2007.
REUTERS

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided Monday to cut oil imports intended for Gaza's power station by a half, in response to rockets fired toward Israel Sunday night.

According to the statement by the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories, IDF Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, the reduced imports will continue until further notice, and will have a significant impact on electricity in the Gaza Strip.

Rocket alerts sound during 'Live Sderot' festival, southern Israel, August 25, 2019.

>> Read more: Not just Palestinian 'Lone Wolves': Israeli teen's murder points to organized West Bank cells | Analysis ■ Infiltration under the influence: Israel believes Gaza youth attempting to cross border are using drugs | Analysis

Three rockets were launched toward Israel from the costal enclave on Sunday evening; two were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israeli military said.

The third rocket landed in an open area near Highway 34 in the south, sparking a fire. Emergency services arrived at the scene to extinguish the flames, the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council said, adding that no injuries or damage were caused.

Netanyahu speaks to the head of the Israeli army, Aviv Kochavi near the northern border, August 25, 2019.
Haim Tzach / GPO

In response, Israeli aircraft struck overnight Sunday several terror targets belonging to Hamas east of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, the military said.

"Fighter planes attacked several terror targets in Hamas' military compound in northern Gaza, including the office of a Hamas commander battalion," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.

According to the Palestinians, the army hit targets belonging to Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. No casualties were reported.

Hamas denied responsibility Monday morning for the rocket fire, saying that other factions within Gaza were responsible.

Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, March 2019.
\ Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Last week, Palestinian factions in Gaza threatened an escalation on the border if Israel does not fulfill the ceasefire commitments that both sides agreed upon in May.

According to a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, a Hamas source did not specify what the escalations would entail, but did say that the demands include a Qatari cash infusion to the Strip and a resolution to Gaza's already ongoing electricity shortage. 

On Monday, Palestinian factions in Gaza warned Israel that the Strip is "a volcano that is about to erupt" and that "Israel is continuing to play with fire."

In a joint statement, the factions described the recent attempts by armed Palestinians to cross the border as a testament to the volatile situation. "The occupation's crimes against the Palestinian people and the holy sites will not go unanswered," the statement said, referring also to recent clashes on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

The factions called on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to "set ablaze the ground under the Zionists' feet."