Israel reopens second Gaza crossing following rocket fire closure

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Kerem Shalom was closed on Thursday, ‘due to security events and in accordance with security assessments’

Israel reopened the crossings in and out of the Gaza on Sunday, following a closure on Thursday due to the uptick in rocket attacks on Israel from the strip, the Israel Defense Force’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said, according toThe Times of Israel.

The crossing, known as Kerem Shalom, which is used for transporting goods operated as normal on Sunday morning, a COGAT spokesperson said. Whilst on Friday, the Erez crossing, used for people entering and exiting the Strip, reopened.

Kerem Shalom was closed on Thursday, “due to security events and in accordance with security assessments” an IDF spokeswoman said.

Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Ministry Spokesman Walid Wahdan, said slammed Israel for closing Kerem Shalom and limiting access to Erez, according toThe Jerusalem Post,referring to it as “collective punishment” and putting “more pressure” on the people of Gaza.

Over the past week, there has been a surge of rocket attacks from the coastal enclave targeting Israel. According to the IDF spokesperson’s office, a total of 16 rockets have been fired. Four have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system but a number have hit the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

The rise in tensions follows US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the much-coveted city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which has sent shockwaves across the region as well as the wider Middle Easter, sparking a barrage of criticism, protests and clashes.

rafah crossing border

Drapeaux palestinien et égyptien, et des photos du président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas (g) et du président égyptien Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, le 1er novembre 2017 au terminal de Rafah SAID KHATIB (AFP)

– Egypt opens Rafa crossing –

Separately, Egypt opened its largely sealed border with Gaza on Saturday for only the second time since the Palestinian Authority took control of the crossing from Hamas.

The Hamas-run interior ministry, which was organizing departures from the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis, said the crossing would stay open for four days but, in the Egypt direction, for humanitarian cases only.

Those include people needing medical treatment unavailable in Gaza as well as students enrolled at Egyptian universities and Gazans with jobs abroad.

Rafah is Gaza’s only border crossing not controlled by Israel.

Hamas handed control of the Gaza side to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority on November 1 as the first part of an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal designed to end a bitter decade-long split.

That was supposed to have been followed by the handover of full civil control in Gaza by December 1.

But the target date was missed amid differences over the future of tens of thousands of civil servants recruited by Hamas since it seized control of the territory in 2007.

Egypt opened the border for three days last month — the first time it had done so since the reconciliation deal.

Prior to that the crossing had been open for just 14 days this year, according to the Hamas-run interior ministry.

Both Israel and Egypt have maintained blockades of Gaza for years, arguing that they are necessary to isolate Hamas.

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