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Israel says Gaza crossings to remain open despite rockets

Aug. 21, 2014 6:14 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 21, 2014 6:14 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Thursday said that both the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings between Gaza and Israel will remain open despite the fact that rockets had been fired at both terminals from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military's coordinator of Gaza affairs Faris Atiyeh said in a statement Thursday that around a dozen missiles fired from Gaza had struck both the Kerem Shalom crossing and the Erez crossing the day before.

Such attacks, he said, affect the daily operations at the crossings, but despite that the army has no plans to shut them down because they are "the lungs through which the Gaza Strip breathes."

Israel has maintained a crippling economic siege on Gaza for the last eight years, strictly limiting all imports, exports, and movement of people while allowing small amounts of goods to enter through the two crossings.

The statement added that Israel had also cancelled a decision to allow Gaza fishermen to fish within a range of three nautical miles off the coast. The cancellation came after fishermen abstained from fishing despite the initial decision.

Israeli forces have fired at Palestinian fishermen multiple times in recent weeks as they have tried to take advantage of temporary ceasefires to fish.

Israeli airstrikes have also destroyed dozens of boats anchored at Gaza's port.

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