Palestinian killed at Erez crossing

Clashes erupt between armed groups and Israeli soldiers as hundreds wait to cross.

    Jihad al-Madun was killed during an exchange of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinians [AFP]
    At the terminal, about 500 Palestinians, many of them Fatah loyalists, have camped in a concrete tunnel, hoping to be allowed through the closed gates.
    On several occasions, armed men, some from Hamas and others from warring clans, have run into the tunnel and fired at the waiting passengers, only to be driven off by Israeli fire and tear gas, witnesses said.
    The dead man was identified as Jihad al-Madun, 35, a close relative of Samih al-Madun, a senior Fatah leader executed by Hamas fighters last week, though it was unclear whether he and the wounded people were among those camped out at the crossing.

    Conflicting claims
    Initially, the Israeli military said Palestinian fighters had attacked a military post close to the crossing with a grenade and automatic gunfire.
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    "The casualties are from the Palestinian fire," Major Tal Levram, an army spokesman, said.
    "The incident is primarily a Palestinian terror attack on Palestinians."

    But Abu Mujahid, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, said two of his group's men fired at Israeli soldiers and they fired back, hitting civilians.

    Hamas fighters have erected a roadblock near the terminal to stop Gazans from reaching the crossing and to look for Fatah officials trying to escape.

    Israel has let very few Palestinians through the crossing citing security concerns.

    "The problem today is because we don't have policemen on the other side," Shlomo Dror, an Israeli military spokesman, said. "The people who come, we don't know if they are terrorists or who they are."

    Closed crossings
    Other exit points from the Gaza Strip, the cargo crossing at Karni and the Rafah crossing into Egypt, also remained closed on Monday.
    The terminals are crucial to the territory's economic survival but there is little hope they will be reopened soon.

    More than 500 Palestinians are waiting at the 
    Erez crossing hoping to enter Israel [AFP]

    Israel has ordered cargo shipments bound for the Gaza Strip blocked, the Israeli customs authority said in a letter obtained by the Reuters news agency.

    But officials said shipments may be allowed to go through at a later date.

    A spokesperson for Israel's tax and customs authority said the order was issued because crossings into Gaza have been closed, calling it "a technical step, not a policy decision."

    Worried Gazans have stocked up on essentials, fearing the border crossings will remain shut but Hamas have pledged to reopen them as soon as possible.

    Earlier on Monday, the Israeli company that provides fuel to the Gaza Strip, Dor Alon, said it had restored normal supplies, reversing a decision announced on Sunday to provide fuel only to Gaza's power stations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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