15 Nov 2008

Violence flares in Gaza as Israeli blockade tightens

9:37 pm on 15 November 2008

Violence has flared again around Gaza as Israel tightens its blockade.

The move has seen United Nations food convoys grind to a halt and the enclave's sole power station forced to shut down for lack of fuel.

Hamas Islamists fired their longest-range rockets at a southern Israeli city following an Israeli air force attack on their Gaza stronghold, in the eleventh day of skirmishes that are threatening a five-month-old truce.

There have been widespread demands by the United Nations, the European Union and non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International, for Israel to allow in food convoys and to resume supplies of fuel.

But the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, says the firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel is "a blatant and fundamental violation" of a 19 June ceasefire.

The tiny Gaza Strip is home to 1.5 million people.