Israeli sanctions on Gaza go into force

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Israel's tightening of the economic blockade on the besieged Gaza Strip with the closure of its main cargo crossing with Israel was the highlight of the Palestinian Arabic dailies on Tuesday.

The Gaza Strip has been blocked by Israel since 2007, a situation that has destroyed the economy of the coastal enclave and private its approximately two million inhabitants of many basic products.

The prime minister cited recent attacks launched from Gaza into Israel as the reason for closing imports and exports through the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

"There will be additional steps which I won't detail", he added.

"Hamas urges the worldwide community to immediately intervene", said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist group by Israel and the West.

The closed crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for goods transport. Gaza's designated fishing zone will be reduced from nine to six nautical miles off the coast throughout the duration of the season. Israel says it has lost 7,000 acres of forests and farmland to the kite- or balloon-set fires.

The crossing is Gaza's main entry point for trade.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision to shut down the border was taken in coordination with the country's defense minister.

The Palestinians began launching the kites and balloons as part of weekly border protests partly aimed at lifting the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed on Gaza more than 10 years ago.

Hamas blasted Israel's blockade, calling it a "crime against humanity and the Palestinian people".

The majority of those killed were non-violent protestors, as well as journalists, bystanders and a nurse, however a small number were seeking to breach or damage the border fence. The woman was holding a picture of her 15-year-old daughter, who was killed by Israeli gunfire during the deadly May protest.

The crossing, which would usually be sealed off during official Israeli holidays and on weekends, also aided in the delivery of foreign aid to Gaza.

Israel, which last fought a Gaza war with Hamas in 2014, does not seek a new military flare-up, he said, "but the way Hamas is conducting itself - it is simply liable to spiral out of control, and it is liable to pay the whole price, a much, much heavier price than in Operation Protective Edge (2014 war)".

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

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