(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip partially reopened the Erez crossing on Monday morning, a day after authorities closed the crossing to all Gazans except for “humanitarian cases” returning to the small coastal enclave.
The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said in a statement that while everyone is now permitted to return to the Strip, only certain groups, including families of prisoners, the ill, and the three Gaza-based Palestinian Authority ministers can enter Israel.
However, the Interior Ministry clarified that all men in the identified groups between the ages of 15 and 45 are still forbidden to enter Israel, whereas all women in the said groups are permitted.
In its statement on Sunday, the Interior Ministry in Gaza said Hamas authorities decided to shutter the crossing for security reasons following the assassination
of Mazen Fuqaha, who was a senior Hamas militant.
Fuqaha was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in front of his home in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City late Friday night.
Hamas has blamed Israel for Fuqaha’s assassination and threatened to exact revenge.
Israeli officials have not commented on the incident.
The Erez crossing is the only pedestrian thoroughfare between Israel and Gaza. Hundreds of Gazans rely on it to travel to Israel for medical treatment, business, and other affairs daily.
Some 138 Gazans, including patients seeking medical treatment and their companions, were denied entry to Israel on Sunday because of the closure, World Health Organization staff in Gaza said.