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Israel Lifts General Closure of West Bank and Gaza Strip

In the latest on the Middle East, Israeli authorities have lifted a general closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that has lasted for more than a week, allowing Palestinians with work permits to go back to their jobs in Israel.

The decision follows a new cycle of violence that left four Israeli soldiers and a number of Palestinians dead, including eight alleged members of the militant organization Hamas. With more on the clashes, here’s Laura Keel.

Clashes in the West Bank City of Hebron between the Israeli army and Palestinian youths, after Israeli soldiers kill a wanted Hamas member resisting capture on Tuesday in the nearby village of Yatta. He was the eighth Hamas activist killed in retaliation for a roadside bombing that killed four Israeli soldiers on Saturday.

On the Gaza Strip, a senior member of Hamas was critically wounded Monday by undercover Israeli troops. He was evacuated by military helicopter to an Israeli Hospital where he died on the operating table.

And on Sunday six Palestinians were killed in a blast at the home of a Hamas activist near Gaza City. The cause of the explosion has not been confirmed. But Palestinian sources say Israel caused the blast by planting explosives in a remote control plane the Hamas members were examining while standing near this automobile.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for the funeral of the six Hamas members and the militant organization is vowing to unleash more attacks.