In response to Hamas arson attacks Israel will block Gaza crossing

Analysis Why close the Kerem Shalom Gaza border crossing now

Gaza blockade: Israel shuts goods crossings to pressure Hamas

In a statement, the IDF said that while Israel was seeking to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, it will not tolerate Hamas exploiting the Gazan residents to launch arson and explosive balloons and kites against the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. But the Defense Minister and I agree that we will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip - immediately.

A government official told Al Jazeera that humanitarian products such as cooking gas, wheat and flour would be allowed to continue crossing into Gaza. "I will not go into details", he added.

The flaming kites have set fires to forest and farmland, and have done some damage, though inflicted few casualties. "The regional and worldwide silence on the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than twelve years has encouraged the Israeli Occupation to continue its criminal actions in clear violation of human rights and global law".

The military will also stop Gaza's fishermen sailing more than six nautical miles (11 km) offshore in the Mediterranean Sea, after having extended the limit to nine miles (17km) for the past three months.

Translation: In addition (to closing the crossing), the extension of the Gaza Strip fishing zone to nine miles for the fishing season will expire, returning today to six miles. The Hamas terrorist organisation is responsible for what is happening inside the Gaza Strip and coming out of it. Hamas is dragging the population of Gaza into the abyss, and the Israeli Defence Forces will continue to work to preserve Israel's security interests.

Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, called on the global community to intervene immediately to prevent what it called a "new crime against humanity".

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum rebuked the move in a statement released on its website "Benjamin Netanyahu's approval of additional measures to intensify the siege and prevent the entry of materials and goods to Gaza is a new crime against humanity", the statement read. However, a spokesman for the network said, "The decision on the al-Quds channel is another step of terror that joins the other violent decisions Israel has taken against the Palestinian people".

The arson attacks began during mass demonstrations along the border, at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel and also demanded an end to the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt.

The demonstrations peaked on May 14, which the Palestinians commemorate as "Naqba Day" or "Catastrophe Day", commemorating the founding, in 1948, of the state of Israel.

The prime minister announced the closure of Kerem Shalom crossing in retaliation for Hamas's kites and balloons carrying firebombs that have destroyed thousands of acres in the south.

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