Boat from Gaza challenges Israeli blockade

Boat from Gaza challenges Israeli blockade

JERUSALEM - Israel is closing the Gaza Strip's main commercial crossing in a crackdown against the Palestinian enclave's dominant Hamas Islamists, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

An Israeli military statement said Kerem Shalom would remain open for the transfer of specially approved humanitarian goods.

Palestinian Hamas police on boats prepare the Gaza seaport for fishing boats to attempt to sail for Europe carrying people including students and medical patients unable to leave through overland crossings, as a protest against the Israeli blockade on Gaza, Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

Israel's military said the Kerem Shalom crossing is shut until further notice except for humanitarian aid, medical supplies and food.

The flaming kites have set fires to forest and farmland, and have done some damage, though inflicted few casualties.

Since Mar. 30, more than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army gunfire - and thousands more injured - while taking part in regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel security fence.

But Palestinians view the cheap, flying devices to be a tool of resistance against the well-armed Israeli forces stationed behind the fence that have killed at least 136 Palestinians since the beginning of the March of Return.

On May 29, another vessel from the Gaza Strip, called Al-Hurriyah (Liberty), attempted to run the blockade.

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Arabic-language spokesman for the Israeli army, Avichay Adraee, took to social media to reveal that the measures also included reducing Gaza's designated fishing zone from nine to six nautical miles off the coast.

Fresh Israeli sanctions on the blockaded Gaza Strip, including restrictions on the movement of goods, went into effect on Tuesday.

"There will be additional steps which I won't detail", he added.

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

"We do not intend to continue absorbing and continuing with this situation", Lieberman said in separate comments to his own parliamentary faction. Tel Aviv made the move in response to Palestinians launching incendiary kites across the border.

Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force.

The "Freedom Boat 2" is the second humanitarian flotilla to set out from blockaded Gaza since Palestinians first began holding regular rallies along the Gaza-Israel security fence on March 30.

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