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  Monday, October 14, 2019
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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the temporary closure of border
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the temporary closure of border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel.

A Qassam rocket, which was fired from Gaza toward Israel for the first time in more than a month, fell near Ashkelon on Tuesday, causing no injuries or damage, local police said.

A Fatah-affiliated militant group, Hezbollah Brigades in Palestine, claimed responsibility for the attack, which threatens a fragile four-month ceasefire.

Israel and Hamas-led militants reached a truce agreement on June 19. Under the deal, Hamas agreed to stop firing rockets into Israel, which in turn agreed to reopen its border crossings with the Gaza Strip to allow the supplies of essential goods into the Palestinian territory.

Since then, Gaza militants have occasionally launched rocket attacks on Israeli territory, with Israel closing the border crossings in response.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the Israeli move on Wednesday, saying that, "It's absolutely counterproductive to blockade the Gaza Strip, as this brings misery to innocent civilians."

Speaking in Moscow after a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart, Abdelwahab Abdallah, Lavrov also stressed the need to put an end to rocket attacks in the region.

"We denounce such attacks," Lavrov said.


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