Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

Meanwhile, on Monday evening, Israel announced it would again close the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only crossing for commercial goods and the main crossing for humanitarian aid between Israel and Gaza, after a rocket was sacked into southern Israel earlier in the day despite a cease fire declared by Hamas late Saturday night. Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began on March 30.

While the groups acknowledged that the damage incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza have caused Israeli fields and farmland was "severe", they said the Israeli response "cannot be to deliberately harm innocent civilians". The fishing zone enforced by Israel off the Gaza Strip will also be further reduced from six nautical miles to three.

The flare-up came after Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians, including a teenager, and wounded hundreds of others in border clashes yesterday, the latest in months of protests.

Kerem Shalom is the only crossing between Gaza and Israel for the transportation of goods.

Israel placed new restrictions on its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to continued Hamas hostilities, even after it agreed to a cease-fire ending 24 hours of intense fighting.

According to Palestinian media reports, Israel also deployed three drones to strike Palestinians launching incendiary kites and balloons, wounding three terrorists.

Hamas, which dominates Gaza, warned Israel of "dangerous consequences".

The Israeli military said it struck more than 40 targets within several militant compounds belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza.

With Israel focused on efforts to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military foothold in neighboring Syria, it has been wary of escalating violence in Gaza.

"It doesn't end in one strike", Netanyahu said.

"The Israeli army is prepared and ready for any mission we give it", Lieberman said during a visit to the border area Tuesday.

"The Israeli occupation would be playing with fire if its warplanes targeted kite flyers", he said.

Reiterating a sentiment he had expressed on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, "To us, there is no such thing as a ceasefire that excludes the incendiary kites and balloons".

United Nations officials and rights activists have repeatedly called for Israel to lift the blockade against Gaza, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations.

Another Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, also denounced the decision as a "crime", saying it was in violation of all worldwide laws and conventions.

Gaza's only other border crossing is with Egypt.