One Palestinian was killed and three injured yesterday in an Israeli air strike on Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza European Hospital named Abdul-Karim Radwan as the Palestinian killed, according to the Palestine Chronicle. The three wounded are believed to have been hit by shrapnel from the air strike, Wafa reported, with one thought to be in a critical condition.
Al Jazeera’s Gaza reporter, Charles Stratford, said that several of those targeted were travelling on motorbikes when the air strike happened. One of Radwan’s family members told Al Jazeera that he was working as a border policeman in Gaza, while Ma’an reports that Radwan was a member of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza’s field control services.
Israel claimed that one of its aircraft targeted a group launching incendiary balloons, Al Jazeera reported. Israeli anger at this practice has grown this week. On Thursday, Israel reportedly sent a threatening letter to Hamas, via Egypt’s intelligence agency, saying that it is ready to carry out a military offensive against Gaza if the incendiary balloons are not stopped.
The letter came after Egypt gave an ultimatum to Hamas on Wednesday, calling on the group, which controls the Gaza Strip, to stop Gazans from flying the incendiary devices within the coming days. Hamas responded saying it had “men working to reduce the number of incendiary balloons,” but reiterated an earlier message it had conveyed to Cairo “that it is unable to end the phenomenon”.
On Monday, Israel struck nine targets in the north of the Gaza Strip in response to the kites. Israel has also taken other steps to attempt to stem the flow of kites and balloons, limiting helium supplies into the Strip, withholding $1.4 million worth of Palestinian Authority funds as compensation for the alleged damage caused inside Israel, and calling for those who launch kites to be assassinated.
Israel has also undertaken several other air strikes in the besieged Gaza Strip in recent weeks. Last weekend, Israeli air strikes caused extensive damage to Gaza’s Arts and Crafts Village, west of Gaza City, destroying works of art and archaeological collections. One of the owners of a shop in the village, Jomma Alzaem, said: “I believe that Israel wanted to target the village, not the building. They targeted Palestinian heritage, a heritage that they don’t own.”
Also on Sunday, two people were killed and a third injured in Gaza City following Israeli air strikes. A video recorded by CCTV footage from a Gaza mosque showed the impact of the explosion, which shattered windows and sent debris into the halls of the mosque.
Israel has escalated its policy against Gaza in recent months in an attempt to curb the Great March of Return, which has been ongoing since March. Since the start of the Great March, Israel has killed 142 protesters, including eight children and a woman, and wounded 16,496, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.