Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Nations criticizes Israeli closure of Gaza border crossing

United Nations criticizes Israeli closure of Gaza border crossing

A second humanitarian flotilla set out from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in hopes of breaking an 11-year Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, a Palestinian NGO said.

Trucks loaded with humanitarian needs only were allowed on Tuesday into the Palestinian territory through the Kerem Shalom crossing, south of Gaza, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.

The crossing is Gaza's main entry point for trade.

"The expansion of the designated fishing zone in the Gaza Strip for the past three months during the fishing season, from six to nine naval miles, ends today and will not be extended". Large numbers of Israeli forces were deployed across the Gaza border aiming to prevent the fires from spreading by early detection of the incendiary kites and balloons.

The weekly march has been running since spring with Palestinian protesters denouncing Israeli occupation and the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and demanding the right to return to the areas they were expelled from in 1948.

Gazans began launching the kites in April amid mass protests along the border calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

Some seventeen people were by Israeli gunfire, according to AFP citing Gaza's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra.

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A rescue operation was launched on Sunday when four of the boys were brought out, tethered to rescue divers. One social media user said: "Wow, the angels watching out for them made it just in the nick of time".

Israel's military said the prime minister had ordered the closure of Kerem Shalom on Monday "in light of the ongoing arson terror and additional terror attempts, led by the Hamas terror organization".

"The Israeli side officially informed us that the shipment of goods and all kinds of products are banned except for food, medical aid, wheat, livestock and fuel", said Fattouh.

"We will crack down immediately on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip". "There will be additional steps".

"We do not intend to continue absorbing and continuing with this situation", Lieberman said in separate comments to his own parliamentary faction.

"International and regional silence for the crime of the suffocating siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for (nearly) 12 years has encouraged the Israeli enemy to carry on with its criminal measures that violate human rights and global laws", Barhum added.

"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. No Israeli casualties have been recorded.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also warned that Israel could punish Gaza even further.

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