Gaza exports resume as Israel reopens crossing: Palestinian official

AFP , Sunday 10 Sep 2023

Gaza Strip exports resumed Sunday as Israel reopened a trade crossing, a Palestinian official said, days after it was shut over an alleged attempt to smuggle explosives from the Israeli-besieged coastal enclave.

FILE - A Hamas security officer checks a truck entering Gaza at the gate of the Karem Abu Salem cargo crossing with Israel, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2021.AP


The Karem Abu Salem crossing, the only point of entry for goods between Gaza and Israel, was closed last week after the Israeli army said it found explosives hidden within a clothing delivery carried in three trucks.

Israeli army chief of staff Herzi Halevi last Monday ordered an immediate halt of all commercial deliveries from Gaza following the alleged attempt to "smuggle high-quality explosives".

Impoverished Gaza, home to around 2.3 million Palestinians, is under a tight land, air and sea blockade imposed by Israel, whose defence ministry controls all crossings.

On Sunday morning the Karem Abu Salem gateway was reopened, said Raeed Fattouh, head of the Presidential Committee for the Coordination of Goods, which is affiliated to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party.

"Several trucks, including one loaded with readymade clothes and others loaded with scrap iron, entered the crossing this morning and headed towards the Israeli side," he told AFP.

Israeli authorities did not offer an immediate comment.

Palestinian businesses had warned that shutting the crossing would trigger a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the Gaza Strip.

The closure of the Karem Abu Salem crossing came amid rising violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which has seen at least 227 Palestinians killed so far this year.

At least 32 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have also been killed, according to an AFP tally based on official sources on both sides.

The dead include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

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