Israel said on Thursday it is lifting restrictions on allowing the foreign media into the Gaza Strip. An announcement said the Erez border crossing will return to its regular operating hours on Friday. The news comes after a lengthy battle between Israel and the foreign journalists based in the region. Israel has restricted the flow of journalists into Gaza since a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas began to fray on Nov. 5. It further tightened the ban after launching its offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. Israel asserted that opening crossings for journalists would endanger them and the staff at the terminals, which have often been targeted by militants. The Foreign Press Association filed a court challenge, accusing Israel of restricting freedom of the press.