'Collective punishment': Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

'Collective punishment': Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

'Collective punishment': Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

Israel ordered the complete closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza Strip, including for fuel and natural gas, following an "exchange of blows" that quickly ended the ceasefire reached over the weekend.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, two Palestinian teenagers were killed in an airstrike on a building that was directly on top of a Hamas terror tunnel. The fishing zone enforced by Israel off the Gaza Strip will also be further reduced from six nautical miles to three.

The flare-up began on Friday, when thousands of Palestinians gathered at the Israel-Gaza border area for weekly protests that have now entered their fourth month.

The steps come as the United Nations and Egypt push for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and as Israel prepares to go to war - if necessary - to prevent Hamas and the Islamic Jihad from launching rockets and incendiary devices into southern Israel.

The restrictions went into effect Tuesday on Israel's only cargo border crossing.

Palestinian factions, meanwhile, including Hamas, fired more than 100 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel in response to Israel's airstrikes.

It comes days after Israel suspended imports and exports through the crossing except for basic humanitarian supplies - fuel, food, some medical equipment and medicine, livestock, and animal feed - in order to put pressure on Hamas.

The primary target of the IAF strikes Saturday was the Hamas battalion headquarters in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Strip, the army said.

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Today the Israeli military said it was conducting strikes against Hamas "in response to the terror acts instigated during the violent riots that took place along the security fence" the day before.

Reiterating a sentiment he had expressed on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, "To us, there is no such thing as a ceasefire that excludes the incendiary kites and balloons".

Citing the daily Hebrew-language newspaper Israel Hayom, IPT said Hamas is preparing to mount explosive material on unmanned aerial vehicles to target Israel communities deeper into the country.

Palestinians in Gaza have for months been demonstrating against Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

It accuses Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks against Israel.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the protests.

At the same time, Egypt announced that it would close the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai. Israel says the naval blockade is necessary to protect its citizens from weapon smuggling.

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