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Israeli government resumes trickle of goods into Gaza Strip Sunday

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israel reopened its border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Sunday to allow a trickle of goods into the territory, putting a rocky cease-fire back on course after Palestinian rocket fire last week led to a closure of the passages.


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israel reopened its border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Sunday to allow a trickle of goods into the territory, putting a rocky cease-fire back on course after Palestinian rocket fire last week led to a closure of the passages.

The Sufa cargo crossing was open Sunday morning and around 80 trucks were expected to cross during the day, said Ziad al-Zaza, the national economy minister in Gaza's Hamas government. More were expected to go through Monday, he said.

Israel closed the crossings last Wednesday after Gaza militants fired three rockets into Israel - the first such attack since the truce went into effect on June 19. More rockets were fired the next day.

Militants behind the attacks said they were in response to Israeli attacks in the West Bank. The truce reached between Israel and Gaza militants does not apply to the West Bank, but violence there has spilled over into Gaza and threatened the agreement.

Early Sunday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian youth during a patrol in the West Bank. The Israeli military said a Palestinian attacked soldiers with two firebombs in the village of Tubas and the soldiers shot him.

Ayman Abdel Razek, 40, a resident of Tubas, said the troops shot the 17-year-old after midnight, a time when village youths often throw stones at army patrols. The youth was unarmed, he said.

It was the second such incident in two days in the West Bank. In a similar incident late Friday, soldiers shot and killed another Palestinian 17-year-old near the West Bank town of Hebron. Israeli and Palestinian officials said the youth was throwing Molotov cocktails at an army patrol.

The Israeli military said its sensing equipment picked up the launch of a mortar shell from Gaza late Saturday, but it was unclear where it hit. No casualties or damage were reported, and no militant group took responsibility.

Israel sealed Gaza's borders a year ago after Hamas militants violently seized control of the territory, allowing only basic humanitarian goods into the area. It tightened the blockade in response to continued rocket fire on southern Israeli towns. The sanctions have caused widespread shortages of basic goods in Gaza.

Under the cease-fire, Israel has pledged to gradually increase the flow of goods into Gaza. It has said it will only allow the reopening of Gaza's border crossing with Egypt - the main gateway to the outside world for Gaza's 1.4 million people - if Hamas returns an Israeli soldier captured two years ago.

Egyptian mediators are trying to broker a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas that would bring the soldier home.

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