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Israel halts 'offensive operations' in Gaza Strip

Staff Reporter

The Israeli army's chief of staff, General Moshe Yaalon, ordered on Friday an end to "offensive operations" in the Gaza Strip after the deployment of thousands of Palestinians security forces in the territory. Yaalon also said that targeted killing operations of militants in the West Bank will only be carried out with his own authorisation.

The Israeli army’s chief of staff, General Moshe Yaalon, ordered on Friday an end to “offensive operations” in the Gaza Strip after the deployment of thousands of Palestinians security forces in the territory.

“In the Gaza Strip, offensive operations will cease in the areas where the Palestinian security forces have been deployed, where there is calm and where there is no terrorist activity against Israeli civilians and soldiers,” Yaalon said in a statement.

The announcement came several hours after about 2 000 members of the Palestinian police force and other security branches were deployed in southern Gaza with orders to prevent attacks by militant groups.

A similar number has already been deployed in the north of the territory.

Yaalon also said that targeted killing operations of militants in the West Bank will only be carried out with his own authorisation.

“IDF [Israeli Defence Force] targeting of terrorists in the West Bank will take place only if there is an immediate threat by active terrorist cells and only with his explicit authorisation.”

The statement also announced that the three major border crossings in Gaza will reopen fully next week.

“In accordance with security assessments and subordinate to Palestinian security deployments to stop terror attacks at crossings, the IDF will make arrangements to reopen Erez, Karni and Rafah crossings next week for the benefit of the residents of the Gaza Strip,” it said.

A partial lifting of the closures on the terminals, which have all been the site of recent attacks by militants, has already been announced.—Sapa-AFP

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