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Israel may ease Gaza blockade as rocket attacks drop

Israel Materials 24 November 2008 11:30 (UTC +04:00)

Israel considered partially reopening its border crossings with Gaza after a reduction in rocket attacks from the strip over the past few days, Israel Radio reported Monday.

The border crossings have been all but completely shut for 20 days amid a deteriorating five-month-old truce, with only one convoy of 33 trucks with essential humanitarian supplies entering the strip one week ago, reported dpa.

Israeli defence officials were scheduled to hold consultations later Monday to debate easing the blockade if no new rockets landed in Israel.

Some 44 trucks with basic goods could enter through Israel's Kerem Shalom crossings with the southern Gaza Strip Monday.

On Sunday afternoon militants fired one rocket from Gaza at a southern Israeli kibbutz (agricultural commune), an Israeli military spokesman said.

Israeli government officials cited intelligence information that Hamas was interested in restoring the truce, fearing the severe blockade may weaken its standing in the strip, and has begun acting against militants of other factions who have continued launching the rockets, radio reports said.

Hamas leader and de-facto premier in Gaza Ismail Haniya announced on Friday that his movement had met with other factions active in Gaza, who agreed to abide by the truce if Israel did.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak also told Israel Radio that if the other side wanted the truce, Israel was willing to keep it. He added however that the Israeli military was ready to act if it did not.

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