Israel closes Gaza crossing after rioting on border
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Israel closes Gaza crossing after rioting on border

Some 200 Gazans threw rocks, approached border fence; seven said injured from IDF tear gas, rubber bullets

Gazan demonstrators approach the border fence with Israel during clashes with Israel Defense Forces troops on October 9, 2015. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Gazan demonstrators approach the border fence with Israel during clashes with Israel Defense Forces troops on October 9, 2015. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Israel closed the Erez border crossing into Gaza on Tuesday after some 200 Gazans rioted nearby, the army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said.

At least seven Palestinians were injured when the protesters approached the border fence, drawing tear gas and rubber bullet fire from IDF troops patroling the fence.

Travelers entering or leaving Gaza have been stranded on either side of the border, according to reports.

On Monday, rioters cut the border fence and briefly entered Israel before IDF troops repulsed them, mimicking a similar incident on Friday, when dozens of Gazans managed to make it into Israel. Six people were killed and dozens more injured in the clash with troops on Friday.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers have so far not joined the wave of violence against Israelis, but have praised multiple attacks on Tuesday that killed three Israelis and wounded at least two dozen.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group “praises these heroic operations in Jerusalem and greets the heroes who carried them out.”

The two Jerusalem attacks, plus another two separate stabbing attacks in the central Israeli city of Raanana that injured five, mark the most serious series of incidents in a month-long wave of violence.

Last Friday, Gaza-based cleric Muhammad Sallah gave a sermon at Rafah’s Al-Abrar Mosque encouraging Palestinians to continue to stab Jews.

Brandishing a knife of his own during the speech, Sallah called on Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to “attack in threes and fours” and “cut them into body parts.”

Another Hamas spokesman in Gaza called on Friday for all Palestinian factions to join the “Jerusalem intifada.”

In a speech broadcast on the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network and picked up by MEMRI, Mushir Al-Masri is seen also brandishing a knife and shouting: “This is our choice, the knife is our choice!”

The “blessed knife,” he goes on, “symbolizes the battle of the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

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