Lapid Promises to End Gaza Border Shutdown Soon; IDF Bolsters Forces in Region

By Shmuel Smith

An IDF roadblock near the border with the Gaza Strip, this week. (Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — Prime Minister Yair Lapid promised local officials in the Gaza border area that restrictions on movement will soon be lifted, three days of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened revenge after one of its leaders was arrested.

Lapid updated the regional council heads by phone on security developments Thursday afternoon, and said he fully understands the hardship caused by the road closures, according to a statement from his office.

He told them that he will hold more security assessments on Thursday and will take action against any organization that threatens Israeli citizens.

However, at the same time, the chief of the IDF Gaza Division told residents in the area that the road closures will last “as long as necessary.”

“Forces of the Gaza Division have been on high alert in recent days. We have detected Islamic Jihad intentions to commit attacks against residents and soldiers, and therefore we have placed checkpoints throughout the area,” said Brig. Gen. Nimrod Aloni, in a video published by the Israel Defense Forces.

“The roadblocks will continue as long as necessary. The safety of the residents comes first,” Aloni says.

He added that the military will increase its forces near the Gaza Strip with artillery, engineering, infantry, armored and special forces.

Meanwhile, Lapid called off his vacation in northern Israel planned for later Thursday, according to media reports.

The cancellation came following criticism for making a getaway while residents in the south are suffering under road closures ordered by his government.

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