Israel will reopen Gaza crossings if quiet holds
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Israel will reopen Gaza crossings if quiet holds

Kerem Shalom was closed on Monday after a Kassam rocket hit the south

Trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip (Illustrative photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
Trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip (Illustrative photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday he would consider reopening the border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday if the tentative calm in the south continues.

The crossing was closed on Monday after a Kassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a field in southern Israel Sunday night, causing no damage or injuries.

The attack came after an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night targeted and hit a “terror installation” and a weapons warehouse in the southern Gaza Strip. The strike was in response to an earlier rocket attack on the Sdot Negev region Saturday night.

There were no Palestinian reports of casualties.

The Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza was completely closed, and the Erez crossing, on the northern border of Gaza, was left open to humanitarian foot traffic only.

Between 150 and 250 trucks pass through Kerem Shalom daily, providing fuel, essential medical supplies, and food to the residents of Gaza.

On Tuesday morning, an IAF aircraft assassinated a senior Salafist terror activist who was reportedly behind an April 17 rocket attack on Eilat from the Sinai, leading to fears that daily volleys between the sides could return after a several-month hiatus.

The IDF and the Shin Bet security service confirmed that they had targeted Hithem Ziad Ibrahim Masshal, 24, from the Shati refugee camp.

Later in the day, Ya’alon visited the Hazerim air force base, where he defended Tuesday morning’s action. “We will not allow even a trickle from the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“We understand that Hamas is trying to bring calm to the area,” Ya’alon told the soldiers. But until the area is completely quiet, “we will not be calm.”

Recent weeks have seen a surge in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, after several months of relative quiet along the border in the wake of Israel’s November 2012 campaign against Hamas and other armed factions in Gaza.

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