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The New Arab & agencies

Gaza protests called off following heavy Israeli bombing

Over 40 locations were targeted by Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 March, 2019

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Weekly Friday protests on the Gaza border have been called off following waves of Israeli strikes.
Hamas on Friday called off weekly protests on the Gaza border due to waves of Israeli air strikes across the besieged Palestinian territory on Thursday evening.

Protesters who gather every Friday on the Gaza border to protest against a siege on the Palestinian enclave and for the right to return for refugees to their homes inside Israel are regularly targeted by Israeli snipers.

At least 255 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military during and around the time of these protests.

Hamas announced that it was calling off the Great Return March demonstration on Friday due to the increased dangers to protesters. It follows rocket fire from Gaza targeting Tel Aviv with Israel launching scores of strikes on the Palestinian territory.

"In keeping with the public interest, the commission has decided to exceptionally postpone its activities scheduled for this day," the organisers said in a statement.
The organisers said protests will resume in the coming weeks to coincide with the 30 March one-year anniversary that the Great Return March was first held.

An official from the organising committee told AFP that the protests were delayed "to protect our people due to the escalation and the Israeli aggression".

It follows of a wave of Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Thursday night and Friday morning with 40 locations used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad targeted.

Israel said that it launched 100 strikes following rocket fire from Gaza, which Hamas said it was not involved in.

Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group that also has a large rocket arsenal, also denied firing the rockets.

"Fighter planes, attack helicopters and (Israeli) aircraft attacked overnight about 100 terror targets of the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip," Israel's military said in a statement, referring to the Islamist movement as "terrorist".

A couple was injured when their house was damaged in Rafah in the southern Gaza, according to the source.

The rocket attack Thursday night caught the Israeli military off guard and marked the first time that Tel Aviv, some 80 kilometres north of Gaza, has been targeted since a 2014 war.

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