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State of alert in Gaza after three Hamas policemen were killed in two bombings

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Gaza is on a state of “alert” on Wednesday after two bombings killed three policemen, also members of the armed wing of Hamas, which controls the besieged enclave of Israel.

In a statement, Hamas’s Ministry of Interior and National Security described the bombings as “explosive”, adding to the tension.

The ministry confirmed in the statement that “the security services were able to put their fingers on the first leads of the details of the awful crime and its perpetrators and is still pursuing the investigation to uncover its circumstances.”

The spokesman for the Interior Ministry Iyad al-Bazam announced at night that “has been declared a state of alert to all security and police agencies to follow up on security developments.”

The Gaza authorities spoke at night of “two explosions”, but described them Wednesday as “explosions”, and announced the death toll rose from two to three policemen.

The blasts targeted “two police checkpoints.” The first blast took place in the west of Gaza City and the second in the Sheikh Ajlin area in the southwest of Gaza City.

The Interior Ministry said the three policemen were “salaries of traffic police and rescue”.

For its part, called the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, “martyrs of the Qassam of duty,” and called “the security services to cut off all those who try to tamper with the security of our people.”

A source familiar with the investigation in the Gaza Strip that “radical Salafist groups carried out the bombings.”

Witnesses told AFP that suicide bombers carried out the operations by two motorcycles.

Reported

According to sources close to Hamas security, a number of suspects have been arrested in connection with the bombings.

– Tension –

The first explosion occurred in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in western Gaza City, killing two policemen and wounding one person. About two hours later, the second explosion occurred in the Sheikh Ajlin area in southwest Gaza City, killing the third policeman and wounding two people.

The dead were Wael Khalifa, 45, and Salama al-Nadim, 32, and Alaa al-Gharabli, 32.

Journalists at AFP saw a heavy deployment of Hamas militants on the main roads in the territory.

He assured the head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh in a statement that “things will be clear and clear to our people” during “a moment of time.”

He stressed his confidence that “things will be seized and access to all parties involved in these bombings,” calling for “to rally behind our security services, and support them in controlling security and order and restore the security situation and the failure of this dreaded scheme.”

The last suicide bombing in the Gaza Strip dates back to August 17, 2017, when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Hamas checkpoint in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt. Hamas then launched a campaign of arrests among Salafists.

The strip, which has a population of about 2 million, has been under Israeli blockade since June 2006 following the abduction of an Israeli soldier on its border. The blockade was tightened in June 2007 after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

The sector bordering Israel has borders with the Mediterranean and Egypt. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with about 2 million people living in an area of ​​362 square kilometers.

The Rafah border crossing with Egypt is the only outlet for Gaza that is not under Israeli control. It has been almost completely closed since 2013 and partially reopened in 2017 for humanitarian and emergency situations and amid numerous restrictions on transit.

In recent years, the Egyptian army has destroyed more than 1,000 underground tunnels that have been deployed along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, used mainly to smuggle various goods and sometimes weapons and combat equipment.

The explosions came at a time of tension in the Gaza Strip as a result of a series of rocket fire into Israel, which the Israeli army responded with air strikes.

Tension at the border raises fears of further escalation ahead of Israel’s September 17 legislative elections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking re-election in the next legislative ballot on September 16, while his political opponents call on him to take tougher measures against Hamas.

Israel, which has imposed a blockade on Gaza for more than a decade, and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

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