Israel Closes Gaza Airport for Third Time
Israel has closed the Palestinian international airport in the Gaza Strip for the third time since violence broke out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a month ago, an airport official told AFP on Tuesday.
The airport at Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip was most recently blocked on Monday night, and the army had said in a statement that it would be allowed to re-open on Tuesday.
"The Israelis yesterday told me that the airport would be closed until today (Tuesday) at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT)," airport general director Suliman Abu Halib told AFP.
"Today we prepared our planes and I asked for permission for the planes to fly, but they informed me that the airport will be closed until tomorrow morning for security reasons. They did not explain which reasons," he added.
This closure of the only Palestinian run airport, a symbol of Palestinian self-rule, follows a similar Israeli action on October 23.
Although the airport was only closed for one day that time, it had been shut for 11 days following an Israeli order on October 8, only reopening after a US-brokered truce reached in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Yasser Arafat International Airport was opened in November 1998 and is seen by Palestinians as one of the major symbols of their aspirations for an independent state – GAZA CITY (AFP)
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