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Israel to Keep Access to Gaza Strip Closed - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Palestinian student walks past a wall painted with graffiti that reads in Arabic 'Death to Israel' in the street of Gaza City. (EPA)

A Palestinian student walks past a wall painted with graffiti that reads in Arabic ‘Death to Israel’ in the street of Gaza City. (EPA)

JERUSALEM, (AFP) – Israel will keep all access to the Gaza Strip closed Tuesday, said an Israeli spokesman.

“This decision has been taken by the Defence Minister Ehud Barak because of the continued Palestinian rocket fire at southern Israel,” Peter Lerner, of the office handling Israeli activities in the Palestinian territories, told AFP.

Six rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday came down in the Negev desert, southern Israel, without causing any casualties, police said.

The attacks were the latest in and around the besieged Gaza Strip where Israeli forces and Palestinian militants have engaged in almost daily tit-for-tat attacks since November 4.

Food distribution to half the Gaza Strip’s 1.5 million population was to resume on Tuesday but the United Nations fears supplies will soon run out unless Israel eases its crippling blockade.

“Distribution will go on of the very small amount we brought in on Monday,” said UN Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness.

“The supplies will last days, not weeks,” he told AFP.

Amid mounting pressure from the international community, Israel last week allowed some industrial fuel to be delivered to Gaza’s sole power plant and on Monday it let in 33 truckloads of humanitarian and other basic supplies.

UNRWA, which feeds 750,000 people in the impoverished sliver of land, said thousands of dollars worth of powder milk was lost after Israeli officials slashed the packages for inspection.

“Babies should not be punished by being deprived of milk. I am not aware of babies firing rockets or baby milk being used to power rockets,” said Gunness.

He also said food distribution would only go on “for days, not weeks,” unless new supplies are allowed in.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in June 2007.

An Israeli tank drives a long the border with the Gaza Strip. (AP)

An Israeli tank drives a long the border with the Gaza Strip. (AP)

Israeli police officers stand guard next to a disputed building, in the West Bank town of Hebron. (EPA)

Israeli police officers stand guard next to a disputed building, in the West Bank town of Hebron. (EPA)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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