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Israel to reopen main Gaza border crossing

/ Source: The Associated Press

Israel will reopen the country’s main cargo border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, military officials said.

The decision by Defense Minister Amir Peretz to reopen the Karni crossing signaled a possible softening of government policy toward the Palestinians following the election of the Hamas-led government in January, the military officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not been made.

Israel has kept the Karni crossing closed for much of the year, largely due to attacks by militants. It is the main outlet to the world for Palestinian imports and exports.

Palestinian officials said Wednesday they had not yet received word from Israel that the crossing would be opened. Israel’s Defense Ministry did not immediately confirm the reopening.

Last month, five Palestinians were injured when militants tried to ram an explosives-laden car into the crossing on the Palestinian side. Militants also tried to bomb the crossing in February. Israeli security officials have said they feared more attacks on the crossing were planned.

Palestinians rely on the crossing for exports, especially fruits and vegetables they grow in the hot, coastal area. They also import much of their food through Karni, including dairy products and flour.