Israel to close Gaza crossings

Following a rocket attack on Israel fired from Palestinian territory, Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday ordered the closure of all crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip.


Israel is to close crossings to Gaza after the army said a rocket fired from the Palestinian territory struck the south of the country on Monday in violation of a truce, causing no casualties or damage.

"After the firing of a Qassam-type rocket toward Israeli territory, Defence Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the closure tomorrow (Tuesday) of the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip," the defence ministry said.

The closures will affect Nahal Oz which is used to ferry in fuel and the Sufa crossing for food supplies to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli blockade for the past year except for humanitarian aid.

An army spokesman said the rocket hit an empty field outside the city of Sderot, which was hard-hit by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire before the truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect on June 19.

In all 40 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza since the start of the Egyptian-mediated truce, the spokesman said.

Hamas, an Islamist movement which seized power in Gaza in June 2007, insists it is respecting the truce and has vowed to crack down on smaller Palestinian militant movements which still fire at Israel.

On Sunday, Barak told local television that the truce was effectively halting what used to be an almost daily barrage of rockets.

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