World Bulletin/News Desk
Authorities in Israel have closed its two crossings with the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said Sunday.
Palestinian Authority border chief Nazmi Mehanna said Israel had notified them of its decision to close down Karam Abu Salem, Gaza's only functioning commercial crossing, and Erez Crossing, which is used for the movement of persons between Gaza and the West Bank.
The Israeli authorities have not stated the duration of the closure of the two terminals, Mehanna told Anadolu Agency.
Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said that the move came after a rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
The two terminals would only open for humanitarian cases, he added.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas deemed Israel's closure of the two border crossings under its control with the Gaza Strip a violation to the cease-fire agreement between the Palestinian groups in the blockaded enclave and Israel.
"Closing the border crossings of Kerem Shalom and Erez violates the terms reached in the cease-fire agreement with Israel," senior Hamas member Moussa Abu Marzouq in a statement.
In his statement, Abu Marzouq criticized the closure of the crossings, labeling it an "irresponsible, childish act," and rejected Israel's justification for it.
Blockaded by Israel – by air, land and sea – since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
Six of these crossings are controlled by Israel, while the seventh – the Rafah crossing – is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part.
Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in June 2007 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas wrested control of the strip from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.
As it currently stands, Israeli authorities allow the Kerem Shalom crossing – which links Gaza to both Israel and Egypt – to operate for commercial purposes.
The Gaza-Israel Erez crossing, meanwhile, is generally devoted to the movement of individuals between Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
A truce deal, brokered recently by Egypt, between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza calls for reopening the strip's border crossings, which, if implemented, would effectively end the latter's seven-year blockade of the territory.
Last Mod: 02 Kasım 2014, 12:41