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Israel allows some Gaza exports, a month after the ceasefire

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GAZA / TEL AVIV, June 21 (Reuters) – Israel allowed a limited resumption of commercial exports from the Gaza Strip on Monday in what it called a “conditional” measure a month after a ceasefire halted 11 days of fighting with Hamas rulers. of the Palestinian enclave. .

Gaza border officials said the easing of Israeli restrictions would last two to three days and apply to agricultural goods and some textiles.

Israel maintains strong controls in the Gaza Strip, with support from neighboring Egypt, citing threats from Hamas. Israeli restrictions intensified during the May fighting, effectively halting all exports.

But with the Egypt-mediated ceasefire it holds mostly, Israel said some exports would be allowed to pass through its territory as of Monday morning.

“Following a security assessment, a decision has been taken for the first time since the end of the (fighting) to enable … (limited) export of agricultural products from the Gaza Strip,” COGAT, a branch of the Ministry of Defense. of Israel, he said.

COGAT said the move was approved by the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and was “conditional on maintaining security stability”.

Egypt stepped up its Israel-Hamas mediation last week after incendiary balloons launched from Gaza withdrew retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Hamas countries, challenging the fragile ceasefire.

But with that blast that has been raging since early Friday, some workers in Gaza expressed hope that easing Israeli restrictions would last and potentially expand. About 10,000 people in Gaza, 2 million people at home, work in textiles.

“This could be a start … today we exported clothing, and tomorrow, maybe something else,” said Ismail Abu Suleiman, a 55-year-old truck driver who transports export-related goods to the Israeli border crossing. Kerem Shalom.

Gaza’s agriculture ministry said farmers had lost $ 16 million due to export restrictions.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv, Edited by William Maclean

Our standards: Principles of Trust of Thomson Reuters.

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