JERUSALEM, AA - Israel has imposed additional restrictions on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip amid the worst outbreak of violence in the area since an eight-day Israeli onslaught on the Palestinian enclave in late 2012.
"For the third day in a row, Israel imposes additional restrictions on entry of goods [into Gaza] via Kerem Shalom Crossing, the strip's only commercial crossing," Israel's Defense Ministry said in a Tuesday press release.
Kerem Shalom (Karam Abu Salem in Arabic) has served as the Gaza Strip's only commercial crossing since Israel first established its embargo on the embattled coastal enclave in 2006.
According to the Defense Ministry statement, clothing, shoes – even paper – have been barred from entering Gaza, although medicine, food items, fruits and vegetables and fuel are being allowed in.
Any kind of export from Gaza, however, remains entirely prohibited by Israeli authorities.
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians, since Hamas was voted into power in 2006.
On Tuesday, Israel launched a military offensive against the Gaza Strip – dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" – with the stated aim of halting rocket fire from the coastal enclave.
The Israeli army said Tuesday that its air and naval forces had struck 50 sites across the Gaza Strip overnight, while ground troops were being mobilized on the strip's borders in advance of a possible ground incursion.
At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began on Tuesday, according to reports from official medical sources in Gaza.
Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, continued to fire rockets at Israel on Tuesday in response to ongoing Israeli airstrikes.
The escalations come amid heightened tension over the killing of three teenage Jewish settlers in the West Bank last month and the subsequent murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy by Jewish extremists.