JERUSALEM – Israel will allow the resumption of food shipments into the Gaza Strip on Sunday after a four-day halt in response to Palestinian rocket attacks, Israeli defense officials said.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official statement had not been issued, said that a meeting of defense chiefs had decided to allow 80 truckloads to cross.
Israel imposed a partial blockade on the strip when Hamas seized power there a year ago, then tightened it in retaliation for constant rocket and mortar attacks from the territory.
It began easing restrictions last Sunday, after a truce with Palestinian militants took effect but clamped down again after three rockets were fired into Israel on Tuesday, lightly wounding two people.
There were no reported attacks from Gaza on Saturday but Palestinian officials reported that Israeli troops killed two Palestinian teenagers in separate incidents in the West Bank.
The Israeli military said soldiers entered the village of Beit Umar, near Hebron, shortly before midnight Friday in an operation to stop fire bomb attacks on Israeli vehicles on a nearby highway. The troops shot a militant who threw two Molotov cocktails at them, a military spokesman said.
Palestinians said the shots killed Mohammed Alameh, 17, one of a group of youths who fought the soldiers.
Then early Sunday, troops on a night patrol in the West Bank village of Tubas shot another 17-year-old, said Ayman Abdel Razek, who lives in the village.
He said village youths often throw stones at army patrols at around that time but that the youth who was killed was unarmed. The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said the soldiers tried to resuscitate the youth but failed.
The military said it was checking the report.
The West Bank is not covered by a nine-day old truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip but after troops in the West Bank city of Nablus killed two Palestinians, one of them an Islamic Jihad commander, the group launched the three rockets from Gaza in retaliation.
The truce worked out in months of Egyptian mediation began June 19 and is supposed to last initially for six months.
Hamas and an official of the Western-backed government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both restated support for the fragile cease fire on Saturday.
"We have made every effort to make the truce succeed," Ahmed Qureia, Abbas' chief negotiator with Israel told reporters after meeting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in Ramallah. "We call on everybody to make the truce a success."
Hamas Interior Minister Said Seyam said other major militant groups had agreed in advance to the armistice and must not break it unilaterally.
"We went into this truce based on consensus," he said in remarks posted on pro-Hamas Web sites. "If we want to leave it we have to do that based on consensus too."