After a week of closing the only crossing between Israel and Gaza, Hamas announced on Saturday they would allow UN and Red Cross workers to leave Gaza.

Hamas shut the crossing one week earlier, on March 26, after accusing Israel of assassinating Mazen Faqha near his home in southwestern Gaza. Faqha was shot in the head four times last Friday. He was arrested by Israel for his part in a 2002 bus bombing that killed nine Israelis. He was a senior Hamas official in Judea and Samaria and was sentenced in 2003 to nine life terms. He was released in 2011 with more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit.

Interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum said said Saturday “radical measures” would be taken against Palestinians who “collaborated” with Israel, including arrests, trials and even executions.

“In recognition of the need for humanitarian aid in Gaza, the Ministry of Interior decided to permit foreign workers of the UN and the Red Cross free movement to enter and leave the Gaza Strip,” a Hamas ministry spokesman said in a statement on Saturday.
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Erez crossing is the only border crossing for Gazans to enter Israel though there is a separate crossing for goods. Men between the ages of 18 and 45, many of whom work in Israel,  are still largely prevented from crossing into Israel.

On Thursday, the ‘Palestinian NGOs Network,’ a coalition of more than 100 charities and rights groups, released a statement demanding the “lifting of restrictions and restrictive measures which violate human rights”.

“Security goals should not come at the expense of human rights,” it added.

The World Health Organization stated that during the week-long closure 79 Gazans were prevented from arriving at medical appointments in Israel.

More than two-thirds of Gazans are dependent on aid, the United Nations said. On Friday, the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process suspended its missions to Gaza.

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Source: Israel in the News