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In Response To Hamas Arson Attacks Israel Will Block Gaza Crossing 
World Israel News  

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.

Responding to the unceasing wave of bomb-laden kites and balloons that have set fire to thousands of acres in the south, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel will be closed.

The decision was made in consultation with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Addressing a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said that Israel will step up its efforts to stop the kites and balloons loaded with incendiary materials that are organized and directed by Hamas.

“About Gaza, I have been telling you for some time that I do not intend to publicize in advance all the steps that we are taking or planning. But the Defense Minister and I agree that we will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip – immediately. In a significant step, today we are closing the Kerem Shalom crossing. There will be additional steps; I will not go into details.”

The closure of Kerem Shalom will not include humanitarian aid, food and medicine, approved on an individual basis by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Kamil Abu Rokon.

The decision comes in response to continued arson terror perpetrated by Gazan terrorists via incendiary kites and balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory as well as other attempts at terror attacks, such as firing rockets.

In addition to the closure of Kerem Shalom, the decision was made not to allow the expansion of the fishing zone around Gaza to continue throughout the duration of the season. The fishing zone is usually six naval miles wide but was temporarily expanded to nine miles three months ago.

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.

The crossing is located near the Egyptian border and serves as the main entry point for commercial goods and humanitarian aid. Both Israel and Egypt have maintained a strict blockade for the past 11 years, meant to prevent terrorist groups from bringing weapons into the Strip.

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