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Hamas allows some to leave Gaza, but restrictions remain

Hamas has eased restrictions on exit points in Gaza [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 27 March, 2017

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Gaza security forces are continuing their hunt for a senior Hamas commander, despite easing border crossing restrictions to Israel.
Sections of Gaza's border with Israel were reopened Monday, following the assassination of a Hamas leader on the weekend.

Hamas closed the border completely on Sunday following the killing of Mazen Faqha, a leading member of the group.

Hamas blamed Israel for the killing, and are still restricting men Palestinians leaving the enclave between the ages of 15 and 45 except senior political figures.

"From Monday morning, travel through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing will be permitted temporarily for some categories," a statement from Iyad al-Bozum, a spokesman for Gaza's interior ministry.

Although those able to leave are restricted to senior politicians, the sick and families of prisoners, anyone would be able to re-enter the blockaded Palestinian territory.

Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, closed the crossing totally Sunday after blaming Israel for the killing.

Israel has been high alert since the assasination of Faqha by unknown gunmen on Friday.

Hamas officials blamed the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and its "collaborators" for the killing.

Hamas are believed to be trying to prevent those responsible for the killing from leaving to find the perpetrator.

According to Hamas, Faqha was responsible for forming the group's military wing in the West Bank cities of Tubas, where he was born, and Jenin.

Thousands of Hamas supporters and others turned up on the streets with chants of "revenge" and "death to Israel".

Former Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and Yahya Sinwar, who replaced him as leader, led the procession.

The Erez crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for people while another crossing is used for goods and remained open on Sunday.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade, while the land strip's sole crossing with Egypt has also been mostly closed, and restrictions tightened after the 2013 military coup. 

Agencies contributed to this story.

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