Israel to Keep Sinai Border With Egypt Shuttered

A 'situation assessment' leads Israel to keep Sinai border closed ■ The border was closed one week ago, moments before a rocket was launched into Israel from Sinai

Israelis cross the border into Sinai.
Mori Chen

Israel will keep the border with Egypt closed for the time being, according to a statement released Tuesday by the counterterrorism unit in Israel's National Security Council.

The decision to close the border was made last week, on the eve of Passover, in light of a security assessment of the situation in the Sinai region and the risk posed to Israelis due to increased ISIS-affiliated activity in the area.

The closure was ordered by the Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and was to remain in effect until April 18. The reassessment on Monday means the Taba crossing will remain closed to Israelis travelling out of the country to Egypt until further notice.

According to the statement, the decision to keep the border closed was made due to a "situation assessment." The decision would be reexamined in the coming days and would be changed in accordance to the situation, the statement said.

Moments after the border closure last week militants from Sinai fired a rocket into Israel. The rocket hit a greenhouse in a southern Israeli community near the Egypt and Gaza borders. No injuries were reported in the rocket attack.

The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement published on the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency said that militants of the group fired a Grad rocket at "settlements in the Jewish Eshkol region."

The decision to keep the border closed comes after two Israeli citizens filed a petition last week in the High Court of Justice, demanding that the border be reopened. The closure was upheld by the court.

Hundreds of Israelis had been expected to travel to Sinai during the Passover holiday, which ended Monday evening.