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Israel/Palestinian Terr.: Cross-border incidents in Gaza, Israel May 16-17

Israeli military conducts airstrikes on Hamas positions in Gaza following machine gun fire in Sderot May 16-17

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/17/2018, 12:00 AM until 5/17/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Jerusalem). COUNTRY/REGION Sderot, West Bank

Event

Overnight May 16-17, the Israeli military carried out airstrikes targeting Hamas positions (military compound and weapons facility) in the north of the Gaza Strip in response to machine gun fire shot into the Israeli city of Sderot from Palestinian territory. One individual was reportedly wounded by the airstrikes, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. No casualties were reported from the gunfire in Israel.

Additional tit-for-tat strikes between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters are likely in the coming weeks as a six-week tent city protest movement comes to an end along the Israel-Gaza border.

Context

A spike in tensions and cross-border incidents has been observed in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the wake of US President Donald Trump's December 2017 announcement that the US would officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a departure from the previous US and international position of neutrality on the status of the city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

The embassy was officially inaugurated on May 14, leading to an extreme resurgence in tensions. On May 14, 35,000 Palestinians participated in demonstrations at several points along the Israel-Gaza border. At least 60 people were killed and 2200 others wounded by Israeli forces during the protests. May 15 (Nakba Day) marked the final day of a six-week border protest campaign in which dozens of Palestinians were killed and thousands more were wounded. Nakba ("catastrophe") commemorates the 1948 Palestinian exodus from the territory that became the State of Israel.

Advice

Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to avoid all protests or other public gatherings due to the high risk of violence and to monitor developments to the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.

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