Israel closure of vital Gaza commercial border takes effect

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2018

Israel has shut the main cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip in retaliation for arson attacks by Palestinians and attempts to infiltrate its territory.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to use a "heavy hand" against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza. "There will be additional steps". The other passengers were said to be students. The crossing is Gaza's main entry point for trade.

An Israeli military statement said the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza would revert to 11 km (6 miles) after being temporarily expanded to 17 km (9 miles).

Adraee also went on to threaten Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, with further sanctions.

If Hamas continues in this direction, these decisions will continue and will intensify.

"Hamas urges the global community to immediately intervene", said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist group by Israel and the West.

Israel also cut the area fishing boats are allowed to operate off Gaza's Mediterranean coast and blacklisted what it described as a pro-Hamas TV channel. "The regional and worldwide silence on the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than twelve years has encouraged the Israeli Occupation to continue its criminal actions in clear violation of human rights and global law". "Therefore, Hamas calls on the global community to act immediately and prevent this crime and its unsafe consequences".

People taking part in more than three months of protests at the Gaza border have started scores of fires by sending the balloons and kites into Israel, vexing its advanced military which is used to dealing with more conventional weapons.

March organisers have rejected such allegations, stating that while Hamas has participated in the demonstrations like other Palestinian political factions, the group was not playing a leading role in the protests.

Wildfires have razed 7,000 acres of forests and farmland, Israel says.

No Israelis have been killed. No Israeli casualties have been recorded.

Palestinians have been launching kites and balloons carrying containers of burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza-Israel border since April.

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had gathered to see off the boat.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade that has gutted its economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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