Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

Posted July 18, 2018

Israel has further tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip, announcing Monday a suspension of all fuel and gas deliveries.

Israel's military responded by hitting dozens of Hamas targets.

People carry the body of a Palestinian who was killed in an Israeli air strike, at central Gaza City, 14 July 2018.

The arson attacks have caused hundreds of fires in southern Israel since April and Israeli officials say the practice of setting kites and balloons aflame across the Gaza border started out on a small scale, but was adopted and encouraged by Hamas, an opponent to Israel.

Israel also halved Gaza fishermen's zone to three nautical miles.

Israel shut down the cargo crossing of Kerem Shalom with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to continued Hamas hostilities, even after it agreed to a cease-fire ending 24 hours of intense fighting.

A Palestinian official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said Egypt and other global players were holding contacts with Israel and Gaza to restore calm. A rocket launch from Gaza also set off sirens in Israel's bordering communities.

Hamas called Israel's import restrictions on Gaza a "crime against humanity".

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Winds are predicted to be 10 to 15 knots with gusts up to 25 knots and seas will be 3 to 6 feet. Tuesday , look for passing storms early and late, but no significant threat for severe weather.

Later in the day, Israel said a projectile - possibly a rocket - was sacked from the Gaza Strip but appeared to have fallen within the Palestinian enclave.

"Should they continue, these additional restrictions risk triggering a dramatic deterioration in an already fragile situation and desperate humanitarian conditions, particularly for the health sector", McGoldrick warned.

"The Israeli army is prepared and ready for any mission we give it", Lieberman said during a visit to the border area Tuesday.

Almost 2,500 acres of agricultural land, national parks and nature reserves have been set alight by incendiary devices floated across from the Gaza Strip over the past two months.

Also Saturday, Nikolai Mladinov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, reportedly held talks with several Israeli and Egyptian officials in an attempt to restore calm to the region.

"I am announcing that the Habayit Hayehudi ministers will oppose a Hamas ceasefire that does not completely halt the launching of firebomb kites and the rearming of Hamas", Bennett said, reiterating that "a ceasefire without preventing the intensification and stopping the kite terrorism would be a mistake we cannot accept". Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began on March 30.

Hamas has denounced Israel's latest punitive measure. The Strip has been subject to a strict blockade for the past 11 years that Israel says is necessary to prevent terrorist groups from bringing weapons into the Strip.

At the same time, Egypt announced that it would close the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai.

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