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Israel Closes Gaza Border Crossing

Palestinian security officers and residents sit at the closed entrance of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt southern Gaza Strip, July 17, 2018. Israel closed the Baz border crossing Sunday as Egyptian mediators worked to broker a cease-fire.

Israel has closed its only crossing for people on the Gaza Strip.

The crossing was closed Sunday.

Humanitarian cases, however, will be able to cross the border, Israeli officials say.

On Friday, Palestinian health officials said two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and 60 were injured at a protest along the Baz border, as Egyptian mediators worked to broker a cease-fire.

Palestinians have been protesting at the Gaza border since the end of March in part for an end to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Palestinian health officials say 170 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began.

Egyptian officials have been meeting in Cairo with representatives of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that runs Gaza, hammering out details of a possible truce with Israel.

Israel and Egypt placed severe economic restrictions on Gaza after Hamas seized the coastal territory in 2007 from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.

Israel says the economic blockade is needed to contain Hamas, a militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction. The closure has greatly harmed Gaza’s economy, but it has failed to oust Hamas or ease the group’s hold on power.