Amid fighting in Sinai, Israel evacuates Gaza crossing
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Amid fighting in Sinai, Israel evacuates Gaza crossing

IDF closes Kerem Shalom gateway as Egyptian army conducts operations against terrorists, reportedly killing 13

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Kerem Shalom crossing seen closed from the Gazan side in the southern Gaza Strip, June 7, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Kerem Shalom crossing seen closed from the Gazan side in the southern Gaza Strip, June 7, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel closed the Kerem Shalom border crossing into the Gaza Strip and pulled out operating crews on Thursday as the Egyptian Army engaged terrorist forces in the adjacent Sinai Peninsula.

Egyptian soldiers, backed with airstrikes, were reportedly operating in the area of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid, and el-Arish which lie just seven kilometers (4.2 miles) from the Kerem Shalom gateway.

Thirteen jihadis were killed in the fighting, reports said.

The IDF said it closed the crossing, through which goods are transported into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, as a precautionary measure, and that there was no imminent security threat in the area.

The measure was due to ongoing violence in the Sinai between Islamic State militants and Egyptian forces, the military said.

The Kerem Shalom crossing is located on the southern tip of the Strip, next to the Egyptian border.

Hundreds of trucks delivering food, aid and other goods pass through the Kerem Shalom Crossing into Gaza every day.

In August 2012 Islamist terrorists opened fire on a military base in Rafah, killing 16 Egyptian soldiers. The terrorists then commandeered an armored personnel vehicle (APV) and a truck and sped toward Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. The truck exploded at the border, while the armored vehicle crashed through the border into Israel where it continued for about two kilometers (1.2 miles) along a border road before the Israeli Air Force destroyed it with a missile.

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