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Erez crossing closed after mortars injure 4 civilians

Aug. 24, 2014 2:28 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2014 3:24 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Sunday closed the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel to injured Palestinians seeking medical care outside of Gaza after five mortars hit the area and injured four civilians.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense said in a statement that as a result of the "direct and continuous fire purposely aimed at the crossing," authorities had decided to close the crossing.

Although the Erez crossing is generally tightly restricted by Israeli authorities, in recent weeks patients injured during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza have been transferred through the crossing to hospitals in East Jerusalem, Turkey, and other places Gazans are unable to reach due to the Israeli blockade.

The ministry said that 50 people including injured and their escorts were supposed to cross today.

The ministry added that the crossing would be closed for the rest of the day, except for "life-saving action."

Police told AFP that three were injured in the mortar strikes and that they were all Arab public transport drivers waiting in the crossing's car park, two of them Bedouin from the southern Israeli town of Rahat and one a Palestinian from Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

AFP contributed to this report.
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