Israel to reopen Erez border crossing with Gaza, a week after closing it following violent clashes

Jerusalem: Israel will reopen the Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman said, a week after closing it due to clashes. In a statement from his office on Monday, Lieberman said the decision to reopen Erez, the only crossing for people in the north of the Palestinian enclave, was made "given the calm along the border".

File image of Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

File image of Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

Israel closed the crossing on 19 August in response to what Lieberman then called "violent incidents", tightening its blockade of the landlocked territory run by the Islamist movement Hamas. The Erez crossing is the only one for people between Israel and Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. Gaza's sole crossing with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.

For several weeks, Egypt and the United Nations have been trying to forge a lasting ceasefire between Hamas and Israel after months of tensions and violence. Palestinians in Gaza have gathered at the border since 30 March calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former lands now inside Israel. During this time, at least 172 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in July. There have also been several severe military flare-ups, including three since July.

Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

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Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 10:19:05 IST

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