GAZA – The Palestinian group Hamas has renewed calls for Egypt to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, warning that the blockade only serves Israel's interest.
GAZA – The Palestinian group Hamas has renewed calls for Egypt to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, warning that the blockade only serves Israel’s interest.
“The unjust siege and aggression on Gaza, incitement and attempts to tarnish the image of the resistance play into the hands of Israel, which is seeking to weaken the Palestinian people and the Arab nation,” Hamas said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
“We appeal to brotherly Egypt to lift the siege on Gaza,” it added.
The Gaza Strip – home to some 1.7 million inhabitants – has suffered under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007, forcing residents to dig underground tunnels along the borders with Egypt through which to bring badly needed food, medicine and fuel into the territory.
Since the Egyptian army’s July 3 ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi, however, the Egyptian military has cracked down hard on the Gaza tunnels, bringing smuggling activity to a relative standstill.
On Saturday, Egyptian authorities reopened Rafah crossing – Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world as all other crossing points remain blocked by Israel – following an eight-day closure.
Hamas warned against ongoing Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims, and Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem).
The resistance group said that negotiations with Israel give covers to Israel to continue “crimes” against Palestinian religious sites.
Palestinians are marking on Saturday the 13th anniversary of the Aqsa intifada, triggered by a visit by then opposition leader Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2000, in which thousands of Palestinians were killed and injured.