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Israel: Gaza crossing to stay shut as long as Hamas in power
Official: Structure of crossing, lack of coordination with Hamas puts it at high risk for terror attacks.
The Israel Defense Forces has sharply cut back its activity around the Karni border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and defense officials told Haaretz that the crossing, which was closed after Hamas took over the Strip in June 2007, is not slated to reopen in the future.
Due to the structure of the crossing, it is at high risk for terror attacks, said an official. This, combined with the inability to coordinate operations with Hamas, led to its abandonment.
"The Karni crossing won't resume operating," said one. "At least not as long as Hamas controls the Strip."
Until June 2007, Karni was the principal cargo crossing into Gaza, despite a series of terror attacks that targeted both the crossing and the surrounding area.
The most serious, which involved both a truck bomb and an assault by gunmen on the Israeli side of the crossing, killed six Israeli civilians in January 2005.
In April 2008, after an attack on the nearby Nahal Oz fuel depot killed two Israeli truck drivers, this depot was closed as well. It will be reopened only in the event of an emergency.
Recently, the IDF has been fortifying the depot to provide better protection for the soldiers who sometimes stay there.
The defense officials explained that because it is located near Gaza City's Sajiyeh neighborhood, the soldiers are exposed to sniper fire, and there is also a risk of terrorists tunneling under the depot and attacking from there.
These are additional reasons for not reopening it.
Currently, the main Israel-Gaza crossing is Kerem Shalom, which is farther from built-up Palestinian neighborhoods and therefore easier to defend.