Second Flotilla Leaves Gaza in Hope of Breaking Deadly Israeli Siege


The Palestinian group Hamas has condemned an Israeli decision to seal off the Karam Abu Salem commercial border crossing, the primary passageway that transfers necessities to residents of the besieged Gaza Strip.

"The crossing will be closed except for humanitarian equipment (including food and medicine) that will be approved on an individual basis", Israel s military said in a statement.

The shuttered Kerem Shalom crossing is Gaza's main conduit for trade - albeit under years of Israeli restrictions.

Israeli 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 burning kites are part of a Palestinian anti-Israel rally that started on March 30 along the security fence between Israel and eastern Gaza, during which Israeli troops responded with live fire, killing at least 133 Palestinians and injuring 14,000 others.

Israeli fire has killed over 130 Palestinians at the protests.

Gaza's exports used to reach consumers in the occupied West Bank, Jordan and "even Israel", according to Futooh.

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".

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Israel and Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, have fought three wars since 2008.

"As for Gaza, I've already told you that I have no intention to prematurely announce all the steps we are taking", Netanyahu said.

"Should this situation continue, the measures will stay in place and intensify", it said.

"Hamas urges the worldwide community to immediately intervene", said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist group by Israel and the West.

Palestinians have been launching kites and balloons carrying containers of burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza-Israel border since April.

"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 worldwide laws", Barhum added.

Following the Palestinian power struggle, Israel imposed a stringent siege on Gaza in 2007 - supported by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi - restricting the movement of people and civilians in and out of the coastal territory, and installing land and sea "buffer zones" in Gaza.