Photo Credit: Erik Marmor / Flash 90
Aid trucks seen at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, February 22, 2024.

Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza, a key transfer point for humanitarian aid, after at least seven Israelis were injured in a Hamas rocket barrage on Sunday.

Israeli airstrikes were reported in the area of Rafah afterward, from where the rockets were said to have been launched.


Israeli authorities closed the crossing as Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Of all of Gaza’s border crossings, Kerem Shalom is equipped to handle the largest number of trucks daily.

According to a statement from the Eshkol Regional Council, “Several rockets exploded in an open area, near a military installation and there are casualties on the spot. The victims are not residents of the council and we pray for their safety.”

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately provide details about the casualties.

The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit within the Defense Ministry responsible for overseeing humanitarian aid deliveries said on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Hamas will do anything to prevent aid from reaching the people of Gaza.”

The tweet continued, “Over the last few days and in separate incidents: Hamas shot mortars at the corridor for humanitarian purposes, disrupted aid from traveling from southern to northern Gaza, and prevented residents from receiving humanitarian aid. Earlier today, Hamas shot 10 rockets at Kerem Shalom, the main humanitarian aid crossing. The crossing is now closed.”

Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition and the opposition called for stronger measures against Hamas.

“We did not attack Gaza and received the seventh of October,” Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir tweeted. “We didn’t attack in a flurry and received a precise attack. Netanyahu, go to Rafah now!”

Rafah, on Gaza’s border with Egypt, is the last stronghold of Hamas.

Meanwhile, opposition MK Avigdor Liberman called on the government to restrict humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“While we are allowing ‘humanitarian aid’ to enter through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the monsters of Hamas are harming those who allow that aid to pass. We must stop the humiliation and close today all The crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip,” Liberman tweeted.

The passage of aid deliveries is highly protested in Israel.

When Hamas slashed food prices in April, Gaza residents told The Press Service of Israel that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

“Don’t feed Hamas” is a common chant at Israeli demonstrations against humanitarian aid deliveries, and the families of hostages have called on the government to leverage the aid for information, access and freedom of their captive loved ones.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Around 30 of the remaining 133 hostages are believed dead.

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