Israel to Shut Gaza Crossings After Qassam Strike

Israel's border crossings with the Gaza Strip will be shut today in response to a rocket attack on southern Israel from Gaza, the Defense Ministry announced yesterday.

The attack further strained a shaky cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. The Egyptian-brokered truce, which went into effect on June 19, has sharply reduced but not eliminated such rocket strikes.

The rocket fired yesterday landed near the center of Sderot, a town often targeted by Gazan terrorists. Police sources said it caused no damage or injuries. No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two days earlier, on Saturday, Palestinians had fired another rocket into an open area in the western Negev, also causing no injuries.

The Defense Ministry issued a statement later yesterday saying that the border crossings between Israel and the Hamas-controlled territory would be closed today in response to the attack. Israel has closed the crossings twice since the cease-fire went into effect, both times in response to rocket attacks from Gaza.

But Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian official who coordinates the delivery of supplies into the coastal enclave, said he had not been notified by the Israeli authorities that no goods would enter Gaza today because of the attack.

Israel sharply cut the supply of goods into Gaza a year ago, after Hamas seized the territory from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction. However, the supply has risen again since the truce took effect.

Also yesterday, three Palestinians were crushed to death when an arms smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza collapsed near the Rafah border crossing. Six Palestinians are still missing.