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Hamas partially reopens Gaza crossing after assassination

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Author: AFP, reutersTue, 2017-03-28 03:00ID: 1490646673251036600GAZA CITY: Hamas authorities have partially reopened the crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, after a one-day closure following the assassination of one of the group’s leaders.“From Monday morning, travel through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing will be permitted temporarily for some categories,” said a statement from Iyad Al-Bozum, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza.Anyone would be allowed to enter Gaza, the statement said, but those leaving would remain restricted to senior politicians, the sick and families of prisoners.The latter two groups would be age-limited — only those under 15 and over 45.Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, closed the crossing totally on Sunday after blaming Israel for the assassination of one of its senior officials.Mazen Faqha, 38, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Friday, with Hamas officials blaming the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and its “collaborators.”He was killed by four bullets from a pistol equipped with a silencer.Hamas did not give details on the reason for closing the crossing, though there was speculation authorities may be seeking to prevent those responsible for the killing from leaving.Hamas officials have said the killing bears the hallmarks of Israel’s intelligence service Mossad, but Israel has not commented on the shooting.On Monday, Gaza’s Attorney General Ismail Jaber placed a gag order on information relating to the “assassination.”According to Hamas, Faqha formed cells for the Islamist group’s military wing in the West Bank cities of Tubas, where he was born, and Jenin.Faqha’s funeral on Saturday drew thousands of Hamas supporters into the streets with chants of “revenge” and “death to Israel.”Ismail Haniya, until recently head of Hamas in Gaza, and Yahya Sinwar, who replaced him as leader, headed the procession.The Erez crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for people. Another crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom, is used for goods and remained open on Sunday, Palestinian officials said.The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.Gaza’s sole crossing with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.Israel, meanwhile, urged citizens vacationing in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to leave immediately, saying the threat of attacks inspired by Daesh and other terrorist groups was high.The advisory was issued ahead of the Passover holiday, when thousands of Israelis cross the land border with Egypt to visit resorts and beaches on the Sinai’s Red Sea coast.Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Directorate said its “Level 1” alert related to a “very high concrete threat.”“Daesh and those inspired by it are at the forefront of global terrorist groups that are highly motivated to carry out attacks during this period,” the directorate wrote.“All Israelis currently in the Sinai should return and … (we) also strongly advise that those wanting to travel to Sinai should not do so.”
Main category: Middle-East

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