AFP/MENA: Israel is easing its blockade of Gaza to allow construction materials and other goods into the enclave under the terms of a truce deal mediated by Egypt.
The decision allows private companies and individuals to import construction materials that were previously restricted exclusively to international aid groups under the terms of Israel’s blockade, AFP reported.
The truce between Israel and Gaza’s leaders Hamas ended more than a week of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket fire last month.
This is the first time Israel has allowed such goods into Gaza since 2007, said Palestinian customs official Raed Fattouh.
Starting on Sunday up to 20 trucks carrying gravel will be allowed into the strip daily Sunday through Thursday via the Karem Abu Salem border crossing in southeast Gaza, Fattouh said. Karam Abu Salem is the only commercial crossing open to the transport of goods and fuel and is closed on Fridays and Saturdays.
Israel is also allowing 207 trucks to cross into Gaza carrying aid supplies, commercial, agricultural and transportation equipment and large quantities of cement, iron and gravel, Fattouh said in a statement Thursday.
The Associated Press also reports: An Egyptian security official says that thousands of tons of building materials such as cement and steel are crossing into the Palestinian Gaza Strip, which had previously been under a strict blockade.
He said the move was made in consultation with Israeli officials, who were in Cairo Thursday to discuss security in the Sinai Peninsula and the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire signed by Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel last month.
The Egyptian official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The director of Gaza’s border authority, Maher Abu Sabha, confirmed to The Associated Press that 20 trucks of material are expected to enter the coastal strip on Saturday through the Rafah crossing. Qatar is paying for the raw materials, which were bought in Egypt.