Barak orders closure of Gaza crossings

Decision follows Kassam fired from northern Gaza Strip landing in western Negev; no casualties.

Kassam field cool 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Kassam field cool 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the closure of all crossings into the Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon in response to a Kassam rocket attack earlier in the day. The crossings will remain closed on Friday, officials said. More than 70 trucks worth of supplies were transferred to Gaza on Thursday before the cease-fire violations led to the renewed closures. The crossings were reopened on Wednesday, after they were closed for two days due to rocket and mortar attacks earlier in the week. The Kassam rocket fired Thursday struck near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No casualties or damage was reported. Defense officials said that while there was evidence that Hamas was taking action against terrorist factions in an effort to prevent the fire, Israel would not tolerate attacks and in response would close the crossings. "Hamas is desperate to have the crossings opened," an official explained. "This is the only way to pressure them to curb the other factions and prevent the rocket fire." Also on Thursday, Barak approved the renewal of crop-duster flights over fields next to the Gaza Strip. The decision was made in light of the cease-fire and the drastic drop in rocket fire and other violence along the border.