Key Gaza Border Crossing to Be Reopened After Hamas Tunnel Destroyed, Israeli Army Says

The Gaza Strip's main goods crossing will be reopened amid Israeli security establishment fears of a economic collapse in Gaza

The Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza in southern Israel, January 14, 2018
Eliav Herskovitz

The Kerem Shalom crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel will be reopened on Tuesday, said a statement released by the Israeli army. The Israeli air force destroyed Saturday a Hamas tunnel that passed below the crossing, and ran into Egyptian territory as well.

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The statement released by the Israel Defense Forces on Monday said that the "threat posed" by the tunnel has been foiled, and added that "the Hamas terror organization is responsible for all that takes place in Gaza, and is responsible for the welfare of its residents," further adding that "any underground attempts by terrorist organizations will be thwarted."

On Monday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Hamas still has running from Gaza to Egypt's Sinai. Haaretz reported on Monday that army officials are concerned that the Strip is on the brink of economic collapse.

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The Kerem Shalom crossing is the main goods crossing into the Gaza Strip through which hundreds of trucks normally pass each week. Last year 570,000 tons of food, 7,000 tons of medical supplies and dozens of tons of electrical equipment, textiles, construction materials and agriculture equipment were sent through. The reopening of the crossing is viewed as essential, with senior defense officials saying that the Gaza economy and infrastructure on the verge of collapse.

About two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that the number of trucks passing through the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza has been cut in half due to the decline in purchasing power of Gazas people. The latest statistics say the number of trucks is down a third, to between just 300 to 400 trucks a day.

Israel has now destroyed four tunnels in less than three months, a key goal after Hamas sent fighters through attack tunnels in the 2014 Gaza war