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Israel says closing Gaza crossings in response to rocket fire

Published: Updated:

Israel announced on Saturday it was closing its goods and people crossings with the Gaza Strip as well as the zone it allows for fishermen off the enclave in response to Palestinian rocket fire.

The crossings and fishing zone were being closed until further notice after a violent flare-up that saw Gaza militants fire dozens of rockets at Israel, which responded with strikes.

The Israeli defense ministry unit that oversees the crossings announced the closure.

A barrage of at least 90 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza on Saturday, witnesses said, and the Israeli military said it responded with an air strike targeting “two rocket launchers” in the Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that sirens warning of incoming projectiles sounded several times in southern Israel.

In response, Israeli aircraft targeted two launch sites in northern Gaza. Local media reported three Palestinian casualties.

The deadly flare-up between Israel and Gaza militants enters a second day, shattering a month-long Egyptian-mediated easing of hostilities.

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EU calls for halt to rocket fire from Gaza into Israel

Meanwhile, the European Union on Saturday called for rocket fire from Gaza into Israel to “stop immediately” and threw its backing behind efforts by Egypt and the UN to calm the situation.

“The rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel must stop immediately. A de-escalation of this dangerous situation is urgently needed to ensure that civilians’ lives are protected,” EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement.

“Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to live in peace, security and dignity,” the EU spokeswoman added.