Israel halts exports from Gaza at key crossing, says explosives found

Al-Jazeera  /  September 5, 2023

Israeli forces tell Palestinian border officials that Gaza crossing will remain closed ‘until further notice’.

Israeli forces have ordered the suspension of all commercial goods leaving the Gaza Strip after an alleged attempt to smuggle explosives, the army and defence ministry said in a statement.

Israel’s military, which controls the crossing points between Israel and the Palestinian enclave, “detected several kilograms of high quality explosives, hidden within a clothing delivery carried by three trucks” at the Kerem Shalom crossing, the army and ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The halting of all “commercial deliveries from Gaza to Israel” is being carried out to allow “security adjustments to be made at the crossing”, according to the statement.

“Deliveries will resume in accordance with subsequent situation assessments,” it added.

Palestinian border officials said they were told by Israel that the crossing would be closed “until further notice”.

The Kerem Shalom crossing is the only point of export of goods from Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since Hamas seized power there in 2007. The blockade has exacted a huge economic toll and most Palestinians in Gaza depend on foreign aid.

The closure of the crossing point for goods comes amid raging tensions in the occupied West Bank and spiraling violence that has seen at least 225 Palestinians killed so far this year. At least 32 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian have also been killed during the same period.