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News Link • Israel - Palestine

Israel Announces New Gaza Crackdown, Cutting Off Trade, Limiting Fishing

•, Jason Ditz

The Israeli government today issued a statement announcing a new crackdown on the Gaza Strip. They said the new "sanctions" against the strip are aimed at punishing Hamas for the use of flaming kites in cross-border attacks.

The crackdown includes the closing of Gaza's lone commercial crossing, at Kerem Shalom, for an indefinite period of time. Israel will also severely limit the ability of Palestinians to fish off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military issued its own separate statement, saying that Kerem Shalom would remain open to a limited amount of humanitarian aid during the closure. They offered little indication on what conditions there were for easing the new sanctions.

The flaming kites have set fires to forest and farmland, and have done some damage, though inflicted few casualties. The timing of the new crackdown is curious, however, coming amid talk of an internationally brokered ceasefire. New restrictions are likely to raise doubts among the Palestinians that Israel is in a mood to make a deal.

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