Gaza terrorists shell crossing point used to transfer supplies to Strip

Kerem Shalom, the main artery for goods and materials to move from Israel into coastal enclave, closed after attack

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

The border crossing at Kerem Shalom between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip was closed by the Defense Ministry on Sunday after it was targeted in several mortar attacks, with shells exploding inside the terminal compound.

The Border Crossings Authority said that trucks carrying flammable material were nearly struck by the shells fired from Gaza, prompting the decision to shut the crossing. Officials said it was clear the crossing area was being deliberately targeted.

Footage from security cameras showed several shells hitting the ground, exploding with bright flashes and releasing puffs of smoke that hung in the air.

The Israeli border authority said that at around 6 a.m. local time, a deliberate and continuous barrage of shells slammed into the compound.

Operations at the crossing continued and some 30 truckloads of humanitarian supplies were transferred from Israel into the Gaza Strip. However, at around 12.30 p.m. a second volley of shells hit the site, after which the Defense Ministry decided to immediately close the crossing in order to guarantee the safety of its workers.

The border crossing is to remain shut until further notice.

In a statement, the border authority said that the Kerem Shalom Crossing had remained open since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, enabling supplies and humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, despite the conflict raging in the area.

Under normal conditions, hundreds of trucks a day can pass through Kerem Shalom. Israel has closed the crossing on occasion in the past, citing security concerns.

As of last week, the IDF said Israel had sent 1,856 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza, carrying 40,550 tons, over the previous four weeks. These comprised 1,491 trucks with 37,178 tons of foods, 220 trucks with 1,694 humanitarian supplies, and 106 trucks with 1,029 tons of medical supplies.

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