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August 20, 2018 9:04 am

Israel Closes Erez Crossing in Wake of Violent Hamas Riots

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A Palestinian hurls stones at Israeli troops during riots on the Gaza border, April 1, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa. – Israel’s Defense Ministry has closed the Erez Crossing, the northern entry from Israel into Gaza, following violent riots by Gazans on the border on Friday.

The decision to close the pedestrian crossing comes just days after tentative reports that Israel and Hamas had reached a ceasefire that would see Hamas put a year-long halt to firing rockets on Israeli communities, and launching terror balloons and kites that cause arson fires. For its part, Israel would establish and oversee a cargo shipping channel for Gaza in Cyprus, which would bring goods into the Strip.

The Erez Crossing will continue to be open for medical emergencies requiring the transfer of Gazans to Israeli hospitals, who for now are the majority of pedestrians coming through the crossing on their way to or from the Jewish state for treatments.

Rioters hurled bombs, Molotov cocktails, and rocks at Israeli soldiers on Aug. 17 during the weekly “March of Return” attacks, burning tires to create a smokescreen and launching the same flammable kites and balloons that have caused millions of shekels in damage to Israeli agriculture, animal life, and protected lands.

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