JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israel said it would keep its border crossings with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip closed for a second day on Thursday, prompting the Islamist group to warn that the move could wreck a week-old ceasefire agreement.
Israel closed the crossings on Wednesday in what it said was a response to rockets fired by Islamic Jihad militants. Islamic Jihad said the attack was retaliation for the Israeli army’s killing of one of its commanders in the occupied West Bank.
The truce, brokered by Egypt, does not cover the West Bank.
Israeli military liaison official Peter Lerner told Reuters the crossings would remain closed on Thursday and no date had been set for their reopening.
“It depends on the assessment of the situation following Tuesday’s rocket attack,” Lerner said.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of breaching the ceasefire that began a week ago. “If this closure continues it will render the deal for calm meaningless,” Abu Zuhri said. “Securing the continuation of the Palestinian factions’ commitment to the deal hinges on the Occupation’s lifting of the siege and the opening of all the crossings in the first 10 days,” he said, referring to Israel.
Israel tightened restrictions at its frontier crossings with the Gaza Strip a year ago, sharply cutting back on the supply of goods into the territory, after the Islamist group took over the impoverished coastal enclave.