Middle East

Israel eases Gaza restrictions amid cease-fire efforts

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is reopening a key border crossing with the Gaza Strip weeks after it was closed amid a surge in violence with the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday that the reopening of the Kerem Shalom crossing after nearly two weeks was “a clear message to residents of the Strip: quiet pays and violence doesn’t pay.”

The eased restrictions come as Egypt attempts to broker a lasting cease-fire.

Recent weeks have seen Israel and Hamas reach the brink of serious conflict after months of protests against the decade-old Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Palestinian territory.

At least 164 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 121 protesters. During that time, a Gaza sniper killed an Israeli soldier.

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