Jerusalem (July 10, 2018): Israel imposed sanctions on the Gaza Strip and its dominant Hamas on Monday in retaliation for attacks by Palestinians using burning kites and helium balloons carrying blazing rags.
People taking part in more than three months of protests at the Gaza border have started scores of fires by sending the balloons and kites into Israel, vexing its advanced military which is used to dealing with more conventional weapons.
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With southern residents and his far-right coalition partners calling for an end to the blazes, even if that required killing the kite- and balloon-fliers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin announced the closure of Gaza’s main commercial border terminal.“We will crack down immediately on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu told his parliamentary faction, to applause from lawmakers.Wildfires have razed 7,000 acres of forests and farmland, Israel says. The kites and balloons are the most effective weapon in the “Great March of Return” protests that began on March 30 and which have met an often lethal Israeli army response. Gaza medics say 136 Palestinians have been shot dead.
“Hamas urges the international community to immediately intervene,” said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas.