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Gaza crossings closed after projectile attack; 45 trucks of goods turned away

Nov. 27, 2008 1:44 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 27, 2008 1:44 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered Israeli forces to shut down the Gaza Strip's borders again on Thursday, turning away a truck convoy bearing food.

Two so-called Qassam rockets, small homemade projectiles of metal tubing packed with explosives, hit an empty field near the Israeli town of Sderot. No injuries were reported. A later projectile caused slight damage to a house.

Following the first projectile attack Israeli authorities reversed an earlier decision to open the Karem Shalom crossing in the south of Gaza on Thursday to allow food and other goods into the area.

Conversely, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the wing of the Popular Resistance Committees based in Gaza said that the continued launch of the homemade rockets was itself a response to the ongoing blockade.

The Brigades added in a statement that the closure is a clear violation of the June 2008 Israel-Hamas. The group said Palestinian factions "are no longer committed to the truce."

Israel has maintained a near-complete blockade of the Gaza Strip since 4 November, causing widespread blackouts and shortages of food. Israel also launched several military incursions into Gaza, threatening an Egyptian-brokered truce that went into effect in June.

Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Economy in the Gaza-based government Nasser As-Serraj said Israel informed the ministry of their intention to open the crossing early Thursday morning. Forty-five trucks were to be permitted to pass into Gaza, 20 of which carried food for UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees.

The remaining trucks carried frozen meats, flour, oils, animal feed and chlorine used in water sterilization. All trucks were refused passage or goods transfer.

Also on Thursday energy officials warned that the electrical grid in the northern Gaza Strip is on the verge of collapse. The closure of Gaza means that no spare parts to repaire the grid, which has been under increased pressure due to the shutdown of Gaza's main power plant.

***Updated at 19:16 local time
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