JERUSALEM – An Israeli military spokesman says the militant Islamic group Hamas has pressured a Palestinian contractor into keeping closed the Gaza side of the only cargo crossing with Israel.
Maj. Guy Inbar says the crossing was set to open today but the Palestinian operator of the crossing said he wouldn’t come to work.
Inbar says Hamas wants control of the crossing, operated by its rival, the secular Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank. There was no comment from Hamas.
The Kerem Shalom crossing was closed for a week after Gaza militants fired a rocket at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. The crossing is an economic lifeline for the territory’s impoverished 1.6 million Palestinians, providing the vast majority of consumer goods.
Inbar says 70 trucks were waiting to enter Gaza.