Israel Re-opens Gaza Border CrossingsBy Robert Berger
06 July 2008

Israel has reopened its borders with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, giving a boost to a fragile truce. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem.

A Palestinian worker unloads fuel from storage tanks into Palestinian tankers on the Palestinian side of Karni crossing near the Israeli Kibbutz of Nahal Oz on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Sunday, 06 July 2008Israel reopened border crossings into the Gaza Strip, after closing them last week in response to a Palestinian rocket attack. A gradual opening of the borders is part of a ceasefire reached last month between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas which rules Gaza.

But periodic Palestinian rocket attacks have threatened to derail the truce. Israel shut the Gaza crossings Thursday after the Islamic Jihad fired a rocket across the border in response to the Israeli army's killing of one of the group's leaders in the West Bank. The truce does not apply to the West Bank, where the Israeli army conducts frequent raids against militants.

On Sunday, about 80 trucks carrying food, fuel and cement cd into Gaza.

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev.

"Israel wants to see this ceasefire succeed and we will make every effort for that to happen," Regev said.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri says that under the truce, Israel should increase the flow of supplies into Gaza.

"We call on the Israeli army to abide by the agreement and to translate it on the ground," Abu Zuhri said.

Israel says the ball is in Hamas' court: if there is no rocket fire, the border crossings will remain open. But the question remains whether Hamas is willing or able to exert its authority over other militant groups.

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