Israel Keeps Gaza Crossings Closed

GAZA CITY –  For the third consecutive day, Israel kept commercial goods crossings into the Gaza Strip closed on Friday, June 27, as Hamas accused some "parties" of spoiling an Egyptian-brokered truce by firing rockets into Israel.

"The Karni and Sufa crossings remain closed," Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner told Agence France Presse (AFP).

He said the opening of the goods crossings "would depend on the security situation."

Israel closed the crossings on Wednesday following a rocket fire from Gaza, which came in retaliation to the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli forces in the West Bank town of Nablus.

Israel allowed fuel to reach the territory’s sole power station on Friday.

The truce, which took effect last week, calls for a halt of the rocket fire from Gaza in return for stopping Israeli aggressions in Gaza and easing its economic blockade on the strip, home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

Under the deal, the crossings were scheduled to be opened at 8am (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday, to allow food, medicines and other basics to reach 1.6 million Gazans.

Israel has been closing the Gaza Strip’s exits to the outside world since June and completely locked down the coastal territory since January, banning food and fuel shipment supplies.

Spoiling

Hamas on Friday stressed commitment by the truce with Israel, accusing some "parties" of seeking to spoil the deal.

"The factions and the people accepted the truce in order to realize their interests, first in halting the Israeli aggression and second in lifting the siege," deposed Palestinian premier Ismail Haniya told reporters after Friday prayers.

Haniya called on other Palestinian factions not to give Israel any excuses to retain its siege on the impoverished strip.

"So we want everyone to respect this agreement," he said.

On Thursday, Palestinian factions agreed to form a five-member committee to record Israeli violations and consider and coordinate any possible response.

But following the meeting, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group, fired rockets into Israel.

On Friday, Israeli police spokesman said two mortar shells landed into a farming community near the border with Gaza, causing no casualties.

"It has become clear that some Palestinian parties do not want this calm deal to succeed and they do not want the siege to be lifted," Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri told Reuters.

"Those who fired the rockets did not aim them at the Zionist enemy but fired them to settle internal scores," he added, in an apparent reference Fatah movement.

Analysts have told IOL that Israeli attacks in the occupied West Bank are meant to wreck a fragile truce with Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza and drive a wedge between Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

(IslamOnline.net and news agencies)

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