Hamas Fires Rockets at Kerem Shalom Crossing Hours After Reopening

Latest Developments

Hamas launched rockets at a key Gaza humanitarian aid entry point on May 8, just hours after Israel reopened it following a fatal strike by the terrorist group the previous week. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), terrorists launched eight rockets toward the Kerem Shalom crossing from densely populated parts of the southern Gazan city of Rafah, lightly injuring an Israeli soldier. The IDF said that despite air raid sirens sounding in the Israeli village of Shlomit, which sits on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, none of the rockets crossed into Israel.

“The Hamas terrorist organization continues to deliberately endanger Gazan civilians and carry out terror attacks from within civilian areas to attempt to attack Israeli civilians and IDF troops,” the IDF stated. “Moreover, the terrorist organization continues to fire launches from populated zones in the area of Rafah towards the Kerem Shalom Crossing to attack IDF troops, as well as the functioning of the crossing.”

Expert Analysis

“Hamas continues to target the Kerem Shalom crossing in order to harm Israeli forces, humanitarians, and workers who are at the location to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza. Hamas’s cynical terrorist attacks make the delivery of aid to the population of Gaza more difficult and symbolize how Hamas exploits the suffering in Gaza for its own benefit.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“The Biden administration’s pressure on Israel to maintain aid to Gaza, coupled with threats of withholding arms to the Jewish state, has handed Hamas a significant advantage. As a result, Hamas and its allies have been encouraged to continue launching attacks toward the Kerem Shalom crossing, confident that any potential closure would be temporary.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Terrorist Attacks on Crossing Disrupt Aid to Gazan Civilians

On May 5, Israel temporarily closed the crossing following a Hamas attack with 10 rockets, killing four Israeli soldiers and wounding at least 10 people. The crossing is among the largest inspection and processing sites for aid transiting into Gaza. According to Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli government agency responsible for coordinating aid to Gaza, Hamas terrorists — in the days before the attack on the crossing — also launched mortars at a humanitarian corridor that facilitates the delivery of humanitarian aid from southern to northern Gaza.

Following the crossing’s closure in the wake of the October 7 Hamas assault, Israel reopened it in December 2023 to provide security screenings for the increasing volume of humanitarian aid heading to Gaza. Aid shipments arriving from Egypt pass through either the Nitzana or Kerem Shalom Israeli checkpoints as they enter the Gaza Strip. As of late April, most humanitarian aid trucks were entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. According to Israeli officials, Israel can inspect about 55 aid trucks at the crossing every hour.

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