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Gaza authorities lift restrictions after 12-day lockdown over Fuqahaa killing

April 6, 2017 10:31 P.M. (Updated: April 8, 2017 7:14 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Gazan Ministry of Interior lifted its closure of the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Thursday after nearly two weeks of unprecedented restrictions by Hamas-led authorities on Palestinian freedom of movement in the besieged coastal enclave following the killing of Hamas member Mazen Fuqahaa.

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

Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm said that Palestinian fishermen could also resume activities after being prevented from sailing for 12 days as part of the lockdown seeking to prevent suspects tied to Fuqahaa’s death from escaping the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian NGOs Network condemned the lockdown last week, stating that "the imposed restrictions violate a wide range of fundamental rights."

Al-Buzm told Ma’an on Wednesday that investigations carried out by the ministry had uncovered the role of Palestinians collaborating with Israel in Fuqahaa’s killing. Three Palestinians were executed on Thursday over charges of collaborating with Israel.

Days prior to the executions, Gaza’s Ministry of Interior declared “a week of repentance,” promising security and legal protection to Palestinians who confessed to collaborating with Israel and turned themselves into intelligence authorities.

Hamas has yet to make public evidence to support its accusation that Israel was responsible for Fuqahaa's killing, and the attorney general in the small Palestinian territory has meanwhile issued a gag order banning publication of any information about the ongoing investigation.

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