Israel reopens people, goods crossings to Gaza: statement

The Kerem Shalom goods crossing with Gaza (pictured) and the Erez crossing for people were closed after a rocket from the Palestinian territory hit a home in southern Israel (AFP Photo/SAID KHATIB)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel ordered the country's goods and people border crossings with Gaza to be opened on Sunday, just four days after shuttering them following a Palestinian rocket attack that sparked retaliatory strikes.

"The decision comes after a decrease in the violent events in Gaza over the weekend and efforts (militant Islamist Gaza rulers) Hamas made to restrain" demonstrators, a statement from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman office read.

On Wednesday, Lieberman had ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and the Erez crossing for people, after a rocket from the Palestinian territory hit a home in southern Israel, prompting the Jewish state to strike 20 Hamas targets in Gaza.

Hamas disavowed the launch and said it was investigating the incident, as fears of a new war rose.

Near daily protests along the border since March 30 against Israel's crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished enclave have sparked repeated clashes with the army.

On Friday, thousands again gathered for protests in northern Gaza, but demonstrators largely remained at least 100 metres (yards) from the border.

Hamas officials were seen discouraging protesters from nearing the fence.

Israel had on Wednesday also suspended the delivery of fuel for the Palestinian territory's power plant that had been trucked daily into Gaza under a deal brokered by the United Nations.

"The decision on the renewal of the fuel from Qatar has been put off as for the time being, and will be examined in a number of days based on the events," the Sunday statement from Lieberman said.