GAZA CITY: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blocked millions in Qatari aid to the Gaza Strip in response to renewed border hostilities, risking increased tensions with the Palestinian territory’s Islamist rulers Hamas during Israel’s election campaign, reports AFP.
Weeks of relative calm in the Gaza Strip ended Tuesday when Israeli soldiers were fired on along the border with the enclave in two separate incidents. One soldier was lightly injured when a bullet hit his helmet.In response Israeli tanks struck two Hamas positions in Gaza, killing one militant, while overnight Israeli fighter jets struck what the army said was a Hamas military camp in northern Gaza. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and fears of a fourth round remain.
However violence has abated since November as a result of an informal truce between the parties. Under that agreement Israel has permitted Gulf state Qatar, a rare Hamas ally, to bring in aid to the strip, including $15 million a month to pay salaries of Hamas civil servants and provide aid to impoverished residents.