Israel further tightens Gaza blockade on Palestinians over arson kites
AFP, Tuesday 17 Jul 2018

Israel further tightened its blockade of the Gaza on Tuesday, preventing fuel deliveries through its only goods crossing with the Palestinian Strip after scores of kites carried firebombs across the border to burn Israeli farmland.

The occupation Israeli army announced the move late Monday after saying last week it was closing the crossing to most deliveries, citing the kites and balloons that have for months carried firebombs into Israel from Gaza.

Israel besieged Gaza since 2007, waging three wars 2008, 2012 and 2014 against the Palestinians, leaving more than 3000 killed, thousands injured and infrastructure in shambles.

Fuel deliveries will be suspended until Sunday, the military said in a statement. The fishing zone enforced by Israel off the Gaza Strip will also be reduced from six nautical miles to three.

The goods crossing, known as Kerem Shalom, will remain open for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis.

Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip since 2006, denounced the move.

It had called the initial closing last week a "crime against humanity".

Palestinians in Gaza view the balloons and kites as legitimate resistance against Israel's more than decade-long blockade.

The closed crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for goods transport. A separate crossing, known as Erez, is for people.

Israeli occupation authorities say the hundreds of arson kites and balloons sent over the border fence from Gaza have caused major damage to farms in the area.

The tightening of the blockade comes after the heaviest exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war on Saturday.

Israeli occupation troops killed 137 Palestinians since protests broke out on March 30.

No Israeli have been killed.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online