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Israel reroutes flights fearing missiles from Gaza

This picture taken on August 3, 2020 shows the tail end of an Israeli El Al airline Boeing 737-958 aircraft on the tarmac at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, east of Tel Aviv. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli El Al airline Boeing 737-958 aircraft at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on August 3, 2020 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israeli aviation authority has rerouted flights to and from Ben Gurion Airport away from the Gaza Strip, fearing missiles fired in response to the provocative right-wing Flag March organised by extremist Jewish settlers in Jerusalem yesterday, the Times of Israel has reported.

After much hesitation, the new Israeli government approved the march, but police insisted on a different route to avoid places where settlers might be expected to clash with Palestinians.

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, said that rerouting the Flag March and the flights is a sign of a "new victory" against the Israeli occupation. It called for Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to take to the streets to face off the "provocative" march organised by the ultranationalist Jewish settlers.

About 5,000 settlers took part in the march. The route took them from West Jerusalem towards the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. The gate is used as a route to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

READ: Israeli settlers' flag march arrives at Damascus Gate amid tension

More than 2,000 police officers as well as security forces covered the route and attacked Palestinian protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets in order to clear the way for the illegal settlers. The far-right extremists chanted "Death to the Arabs" and "Jerusalem is ours".

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 17 Palestinians were wounded as the police and security forces cleared them from the yard in front of Jaffa Gate and other places in the Old City.

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