by News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman orders Gaza fishing zone permits reduced from 9 to 6 nautical miles, threatens more steps "if violent incidents continue"
Israel announced new restrictions on the Gaza Strip on Saturday, after the territory's Hamas rulers stepped up protests along the enclave's land and sea borders with Israel in recent weeks.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the permits for Gaza's fishing zone to be scaled down from 9 to 6 nautical miles and threatened "additional steps if the violent incidents continue," according to a statement by the IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories.
Other measures could include stricter limitations at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Gaza's prime commercial crossing point and the only entry point of goods from Israel.
Lieberman cited the weekly Palestinian riots at the border between Israel and Gaza as contributing to his decision, as well as the midweek beach protests at which Gazan fishing boats and protesters gather at the northwestern point of the Gaza Strip, where its sea and land barriers meet with Israel.
Hamas has accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of sabotaging regional efforts to mediate a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that would ease the closure on the Gaza Strip.
In response, Hamas has escalated and intensified the protests recently, adding locations and leading night gatherings near the fence where activists use sound bombs and laser lights to distract soldiers.
Gaza's Health Ministry said three Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy, were shot dead by Israeli forces during Friday's border protest. At least 126 others were wounded at five locations, the ministry said.
he sustained during protests on the Gaza-Israel border, Friday
On Friday, thousands of Palestinians gathered for the weekly protests along the border fence. Israel said demonstrators threw grenades at IDF soldiers and tried to cut through parts of the fence with bolt cutters in efforts to infiltrate into Israeli territory.
In a statement, the IDF said some Palestinians were "throwing explosive devices and grenades, rolling burning tires and hurling rocks" at Israeli soldiers at the border fence. One group even managed to cross the fence into Israel to throw grenades before returning to the Gaza Strip, it said.
No Israelis were wounded.
Israel accuses Hamas of orchestrating the protests to provide cover for attacks and distract from Gaza's economic plight, allegations it denies.
Hamas seized control of Gaza from Abbas in 2007 and has since fought three wars with Israel, most recently in 2014.
News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
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