Israel to reopen border with Gaza Strip
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Israel’s defense minister has announced he will reopen the country’s main personnel crossing with the Gaza Strip following a week of relative calm along the border. (AP) 

The Times of Israel reports that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Sunday that he will open the Erez Crossing on the Gaza Strip’s northern border beginning on Monday, due to the “significantly reduced” number of violent incidents stemming from the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

The border crossing, which acts as the only pedestrian crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, has been closed for the past week.

The Defense Ministry statement said the decision to reopen the crossing came “in light of the security calm that was upheld over the past week and the significantly reduced [number] of [violent] incidents.”

AP reports that Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that after consultation with the country’s security agencies, he ordered the opening of the Erez border crossing on Monday.

The decision to reopen the crossing comes amid efforts by Egypt to mediate a possible ceasefire between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel following weeks of intense violence at the border.

The sides have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks, as militants have fired rockets at Israel, which responded with airstrikes.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and doesn’t recognize Israel, seeks an easing of the decade-long, crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Palestinian territory in exchange for a lasting truce.

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