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Switzerland condemns Gaza blockade

Switzerland has demanded an end to Israel's tightened blockage of the Gaza Strip, saying the area has been completely cut off from the outside world.

The foreign ministry insisted the two sides of the conflict stick to the present five-month ceasefire agreement and comply with humanitarian law.

Switzerland is especially concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the tightened measures, enforced by Israel for the past two weeks, the ministry said, adding that relief workers had to have access to ensure the supply of food and medicine to Gaza.

The ministry also condemned rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, saying it was both intolerable for the Israeli civilian population and a violation of international humanitarian law.

Israel opened a border crossing with Gaza on Monday for the first time in two weeks, allowing in about 30 truckloads of food and medicine and a limited amount of diesel fuel. However, it shut border crossings again on Tuesday citing continued rocket fire at its towns, despite warnings from world aid groups of looming shortages of food and fuel supplies.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has termed Israel's tightened blockade of the Gaza Strip a "war crime".


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