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New Flotilla to Set Sail from Gaza in Protest at Israeli Siege

New Flotilla to Set Sail from Gaza in Protest at Israeli Siege”

Israel is ramping up its crackdown on the Islamic terror group Hamas.

A second humanitarian fleet left the Gaza Strip today with the aim of ending 11 years of Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, announced a Palestinian organization.

Palestinians in Gaza, which the United Nations said would be "unliveable by 2020" have been demonstrating against Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

Group calls Israeli decision to seal off trade border crossing a "crime" as HRW describes it as "collective punishment".

Hamas leaders say shutting the Karam Abu Salem crossing is a crime against the Palestinian people.

The current situation in the Gaza Strip was in focus of a telephone conversation between Russian president's envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud faction that the Kerem Shalom Crossing will be closed in response to burning kite attacks from Gaza, according to a statement released on his behalf. "From fish and vegetables to clothing items and wood", he said.

Netanyhau also warned in a series of posts on Twitter that "additional steps" will be taken to address the "Hamas regime ... immediately". "I will not go into details", he added.

Israel also said it was ending a seasonal expansion of the fishing zone off Gaza, returning it to six nautical miles instead of nine. Gaza's economy relies on the local fishing industry for income.

"This situation, in which every day our woodlands are being burned every day, can not continue", Lieberman said on Monday, adding that "I've instructed the IDF to take several measures".

That flotilla, which was composed of a main boat accompanied by smaller boats, was swiftly intercepted and seized by Israeli navy forces.

"What's needed is pressure on global community".

The military statement, and separate remarks by Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, linked the new measures to fires from incendiary kites and helium balloons that have been flown over the border since the protests began on March 30.

"Latest Israeli procedures of tightening up the blockade on Gaza will not force Palestinians to give up on Palestine", al-Thawabtah said. At least 145 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.



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