Israeli military officials have decided to reopen the border with Gaza despite continuing violence along the security fence and ongoing incendiary balloon attacks on southern communities.
The decision was made Wednesday to reopen the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, used by diplomats, humanitarian aid workers, medical personnel and Gazans with Israeli work permits.
Some 17,000 Gazans with permits have been unable to enter Israel and go to their jobs over the past two weeks, due to the violence and Jewish holiday closures. The Erez crossing will again be closed this weekend for the Sukkot holiday.
“Continuation of the civil measures will be possible in accordance with security assessments and with the preservation of stable security,” said the IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Alongside the decision to reopen the crossing, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned Wednesday that Israel will intensify its response to border violence and incendiary balloon attacks on southern Israeli communities.
The IDF has carried out multiple attacks over the past several days against minor military positions belonging to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
“We don’t want an escalation and are not looking for a fight, but if we get to the point where we need to act, let Operation Shield and Arrow be a reminder for all terror groups about the capabilities of the security apparatus,” he said in remarks during a memorial to mark 50 years since the Yom Kippur War.
On May 9 this year, the IDF launched Operation Shield and Arrow in response to ongoing barrages of rocket fire aimed at Israel by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization in Gaza.
The 116-hour operation targeted Islamic Jihad senior operatives who were responsible for the rocket fire, who were planning future terror attacks against Israelis, and who had been involved in prior attacks against Israel and its civilians.
During the five-day operation, a total of 1,469 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel with 1,139 rockets crossing into Israeli territory. 291 of those rockets misfired and landed in Gaza. Another 437 rockets were intercepted by the acclaimed Israeli Iron Dome aerial defense system.
The IDF struck 700 terrorist targets. A ceasefire was put in place on May 13, 2023.