'Collective punishment': Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

'Collective punishment': Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

'Collective punishment': Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Kanou said that the decision reflects Israel's "bad intention" and plan to "commit more crimes against the Palestinians".

The European Union admonished Israel on Friday for "aggravating" the economic situation in Gaza by closing the only humanitarian crossing into the enclave, just hours after the Israel premier had lashed out at the bloc.

Gaza City: Two Palestinians were killed today as Israel unleashed a wave of air strikes against the Gaza Strip, while scores of rockets were fired back from the Hamas-run territory.

Later, Mr Lieberman announced that Kerem Shalom would be closed for fuel deliveries and the distance which Gaza's fishermen would be allowed from the coast reduced from six nautical miles (12 km) to three.

The tightening of the blockade comes after Saturday's heaviest exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza since the 51-day Israeli military assault on Gaza in 2014.

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.

Hamas warned of "dangerous consequences" over the new restrictions.

Following a barrage of almost 200 rockets and mortars fired into Israel on Saturday, an errant rocket fell short and knocked out electrical lines carrying power into Gaza, Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported Monday.

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Monday's incident prompted one Israeli to ask, "Is there no end to the cruel schemes?"

Kanou called on the global community to "break its silence towards Israeli crimes against humanity".

The Israeli army said air strikes carried out in the morning hit "complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility".

Even after Hamas, Gaza's militant rulers, agreed to a cease-fire late Saturday, incendiary kites and balloons have continued to float from Gaza into Israel setting off damaging fires to farmlands.

The devices have sparked hundreds fires in southern Israel, burning more than 2,830 hectares (7,000 acres) of forest and farmland and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, officials say.

Since the protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30, at least 141 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

The weekend's violence came after months of near-weekly border demonstrations organized by Hamas aimed in part at protesting the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. 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.

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