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Palestinian remains in Israeli custody after being detained at Erez crossing

Feb. 17, 2017 1:37 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2017 6:06 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian man for unknown reasons on Wednesday when the man attempted to pass through the Erez border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Palestinian sources told Ma’an of the arrest on Friday, and identified the detainee as Majdi Muhammad Abu Taha from the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, saying Abu Taha was heading to a meeting at the US consulate in Jerusalem when he was detained.

Israeli intelligence officials were not immediately available for comment.

Erez is the only land crossing for people between Gaza and Israel, although travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since 2007.

Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes for days, before they are either allowed into Israel or sent back to Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008, most recently in the summer of 2014.

The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become "uninhabitable" by 2020, as its more than 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 Palestinians who remain displaced since 2014.

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