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Israel reopens its sole people crossing with Gaza

Israel reopened its only crossing for

people with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, more than a week after shutting it

following a destructive Palestinian protest.

The reopening follows several days of relative calm, as Egyptian and UN

officials attempt to broker a long-term truce between Israel and Gaza's

Islamist rulers Hamas.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees the Erez

crossing confirmed it had reopened on Thursday.

On September 5, the army said that hundreds of rioters had vandalised

the Gaza side of the crossing, and that it would remain closed until the

damage was repaired.

Israel has enforced an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip for

more than a decade, but grants permission to a limited number of people to

cross.

An average of around 1,000 Gazans cross through Erez each day, mostly

those in need of medical care but also businesspeople, students and others,

Israeli authorities say.

A second crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom, is for goods only.

There have been months of tension along the border and several military-

flare ups, but recent weeks have seen relative calm.

Activists have held regular protests along Gaza's border with Israel since

March 30 which have triggered frequent clashes with the army.

At least 176 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli fire since

the protests began. One Israeli soldier has been killed over the same period.

The protesters have been demanding the right of return to homes their

families fled or were expelled from during the 1948 war that accompanied

Israel's creation.

Gaza's only other link to the outside world is the Rafah crossing with

Egypt. It was closed for years but has been largely open to restricted

categories of Palestinians since mid-May.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)