Israel eases security restrictions near Gaza

Injured Palestinian children are seen at the Nasser Hospital in the

southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on June 19, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

Israel's Home Front Command announced on Wednesday the lifting of security restrictions in numerous communities near the Gaza Strip, marking a significant easing of measures since Hamas' attack on Oct. 7, 2023.

The new guidelines, applicable to the "Gaza Envelope" area extending up to 7 km from the Gaza border, exclude 25 communities, such as Sderot and Kerem Shalom, situated closer to the border.

According to a statement from the military, the decision follows a comprehensive assessment by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi.

Under these revised directives, outdoor educational activities can resume without constraints, gatherings of up to 1,000 people are permitted, and workplaces and essential economic activities can proceed unrestricted.

The adjustments in the Home Front Command's defensive protocols are aimed at easing restrictions on civilian life by the current operational assessment to help revitalize agriculture, economy, and education, said the military statement.

The move comes after an eight-and-a-half-month conflict between Israel and Hamas, during which Israeli operations resulted in extensive infrastructure damage and loss of life in Gaza, primarily among civilians. Israeli authorities assert significant dismantling of Hamas' militant infrastructure during the conflict.

Israel initiated the military campaign in response to a surprise attack by Hamas on southern Israeli communities, resulting in casualties numbering around 1,200 individuals.