Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka arrived in Israel on Sunay for the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem hours after the Israeli Defence Forces destroyed a tunnel near the main pedestrian crossing of the Gaza strip.
Along with her husband, Jared Kushner, she will lead the American delegation on Monday to mark the controversial decision to move US operations from Tel Aviv.
The transfer has angered Palestinian leaders, who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
Ahead of the ceremony, a military spokesman said air strikes had destroyed a one-kilometre tunnel built by the militant group Hamas and which had been tracked for weeks before being destroyed just inside the Gaza fence.
“Hamas is spreading messages of its desire for a long-term ceasefire but actually digs terror tunnels into the territory of the State of Israel. We’re not buying this bluff. We will continue, like this evening, to strike the terror infrastructure,” said Avigdor Liberman, Israeli Defence Minister, on Twitter on Saturday.
The same day, the Israeli military announced the closure of the main cargo crossing along the same border after demonstrations inside the Strip caused extensive damage to the crossing.
More than $9m (£6.6m) worth of damage was wrought during Friday’s protest, including the destruction of the Kerem Shalom crossing’s main fuel and gas lines, which bring in cooking gas and diesel for hospital generators. Shortages are now imminent.
The Israeli military has long blamed Hamas for inciting violence and military response, thereby perpetuating shortages in the blockaded Strip.
“Hamas continues to lead the residents of Gaza to destroy the only assistance they receive,” the army said of the damage wrought at Kerem Shalom.
Hamas said in a statement that it would not be deterred, even by Israeli airstrikes: “The Israeli bombardment of the northern Gaza Strip is a miserable and failed attempt to prevent the participation of our masses in the major ‘March of Return’ and to break the siege on May 14th.”
Tensions have been roiling along the Gaza border fence in the lead-up to 14 May, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, wherein the Palestinian population was forcibly moved during the creation of the state of Israel.
Since the demonstrations began on March 30, 42 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and at least another 1,800 wounded.