Israel announced on Saturday to shut down the main cargo crossing in the Gaza Strip, Kerem Shalom, one day after Palestinian protesters set fire to the fuel pipelines in the facility.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the Israeli Crossings Authority, which controls the crossing, to close it down after visiting there on Saturday.
“The crossing will remain closed until the damages are repaired. It will reopen in accordance with a situation assessment,” Israeli military said in a separate statement.
“The crossing will be open for humanitarian cases approved on a case-by-case basis only,” the army said.
According to the statement, the Palestinian side of Kerem Shalom was vandalized on Friday night by “dozens of violent rioters.”
The fuel terminal has been totally disabled, with damage caused to connection stations of the gas pipelines, making the main gas line out of order, the military said.
Additionally, the fueling site sustained fire and fracture damages, and damage was caused to electricity infrastructure of conveyors for grains and food for livestock. Fences, light poles and cameras were vandalized too.
The military blamed Hamas movement, the Palestinian Islamist organization that runs Gaza, for the riots.
“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip, both above and below the ground, and will bear the consequences for its actions,” the statement read.
On Friday, thousands of protesters marched towards the fence as part of weekly rallies to protest over Israel’s blockade on the coastal enclave and their right to return to their lands and families they had to leave in the 1948 war, Israel’s Independence War.
In Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces shot and killed Jaber Abu Mustafa. The 40-year-old man was shot in his chest, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
More than 730 others were wounded in the clashes, according to the ministry. Enditem