Israel reopens Gaza crossings as calm restored

Palestinian officials said Israel had agreed to ease its crippling decade-long blockade of the impoverished enclave in exchange for calm. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 May 2019
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Israel reopens Gaza crossings as calm restored

  • Both the Erez crossing for people and Kerem Shalom crossing for goods were open and operating
  • Both had been closed on May 4, when Gaza rulers Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets at Israel

JERUSALEM: Israel reopened Sunday its crossings with the blockaded Gaza Strip after closing them during a deadly escalation earlier this month, an official said, as a fragile truce held.
Both the Erez crossing for people and Kerem Shalom crossing for goods were open and operating, a spokeswoman for COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees the crossings, said in a statement.
Both had been closed on May 4, when Gaza rulers Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, with the army striking dozens of targets in Gaza in response.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in the two-day flare-up, which ended on Monday in a tentative truce.
Palestinian officials said Israel had agreed to ease its crippling decade-long blockade of the impoverished enclave in exchange for calm.
Israel did not publicly confirm the deal, but on Friday lifted the ban it had imposed on Palestinian fishing boats operating off Gaza.
Israel says its blockade is necessary to isolate Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008.
But critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s two million residents.


Two killed in Iraq after vehicle explodes in car wash

Updated 23 May 2019
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Two killed in Iraq after vehicle explodes in car wash

  • The explosion took place in Qaim district of Anbar province, once a Daesh stronghold

FALLUJAH: A parked vehicle exploded in Iraq's western province of Anbar, killing two people and wounding two others, a district mayor said on Thursday, the latest attack inside what was once Daesh's last stronghold in the country.
The explosion occurred in Anbar's Qaim district, 300 kilometers west of Baghdad. Iraqi forces retook the area, which lies on the border with Syria, in December 2017, after which they declared final victory over the group.
The vehicle was parked inside a car wash, said Qaim Mayor Ahmed Mahallawi. The attack targeted members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a group of Iran-backed Shi'ite arnmed factions who helped defeat the Sunni militants, and successfully killed one, wounding two others. A car wash worker was also killed.