Fires, threats prompt Israel to shut down Gaza crossing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjami Netanyahu said Monday Israel will close the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza due to new threats from Hamas.

A truck transports cargo from Israel to Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. On Monday, Israeli officials ordered the crossing closed. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
A truck transports cargo from Israel to Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. On Monday, Israeli officials ordered the crossing closed. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

The Israel Defense Forces said Monday IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot recommended that Netanyahu close Kerem Shalom, the only active crossing for goods into the Gaza Strip, “in light of the continuation of arson terrorism and other terror attempts” from Hamas.

Additionally, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the IDF to “make it more difficult at all the crossings,” due to daily attacks from burning kites or balloons that have caused fires.

“We will act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said.

The Israel Defense Force launched a rocket attack on nine Hamas targets last month after burning, oil-soaked rags sent over the border caused 17 fires.

The only alternative shipping point into Gaza is the Rafich crossing that’s been closed for months, Hamodia reported. Monday’s order only permits crossing Kerem Shalom for “humanitarian aid.”

By Sommer Brokaw