JERUSALEM: Israel ordered the country’s goods and people border crossings with Gaza to be opened , just four days after shuttering them following a Palestinian rocket attack that sparked retaliatory air strikes.
The move followed efforts to prevent an escalation in violence that has raised fears of a new war between Israel and the Palestinian territory’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
“The decision comes after a decrease in the violent events in Gaza over the weekend and efforts Hamas made to restrain” demonstrators, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Lieberman had ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and the Erez crossing for people, after a rocket from the Palestinian territory hit a home in southern Israel, prompting the Jewish state to strike 20 Hamas targets in Gaza.
Another rocket fell in the Mediterranean off Tel Aviv, without causing casualties or damage.
Hamas disavowed the launches and said it was investigating the incident, as alarm over a potential broader conflict rose.
But Israel rejected their denial, saying they were the only groups armed with rockets of that range.
Israel in any case holds Hamas responsible, as Gaza’s de facto rulers, for all fire from the territory regardless of who launches it.
Near daily protests along the Gaza border since March 30 against Israel’s crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished enclave have sparked repeated clashes with the army.
More than 200 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed in the violence.