By Mohammed Majed and Hani al-Shaer
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Israel on Sunday closed the Erez crossing with the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to a Palestinian official.
"Israeli authorities informed us of the sudden closure of the crossing to passengers, except for humanitarian cases,” Mohammed al-Maqadma, a media officer in the Palestinian Authority-affiliated civil affairs department, told Anadolu Agency.
He said Israel cited the staging of naval rallies along Gaza’s northern border with Israel for the closure of the terminal.
Dozens of boats set sail from the Gaza Strip on Saturday toward the strip’s northern border with Israel as part of efforts to pile pressure on Israel to break Israel’s 11-year blockade on the seaside enclave.
Blockaded by Israel — by air, land and sea — since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
Six of these, including the Erez crossing, are controlled by Israel, while the seventh – the Rafah crossing — is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup.
Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in June 2007 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas wrested control of the strip from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.