Israel reopens 2 crossings with Gaza Strip after 8-day closure

Palestinian amputees break their fast at a community center that was destroyed during the two-day escalation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 8

On Friday, Israel extended the fishing zone to 12 nautical miles, after a ban for six days.

As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen to work within a limited "designated fishing zone", the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

Both of the border crossings were open and operating in accordance with the previously established timelines.

"The phone conversation addressed the intensive efforts being exerted to implement recent understandings [between Israel and Gaza-based resistance factions] in hopes of ending the Gazan people's suffering", the statement read.

This week's demonstrations were seen as a key test for a fragile truce agreed between Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas and Israel. That fighting, which involved Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes, left 29 Palestinians and four Israelis dead.

Israel did not publicly confirm the deal.

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Concerns had been raised that the contest could be disrupted by a surge in cross-border violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Earlier in the day, the Gaza Health Ministry said the Israeli army has killed 304 Palestinians and wounded 17,301 others including 3,544 children and 1,168 women, since the beginning of the weekly rally.

Palestinian Muslim worshipers pray at Al Omari mosque in Gaza City.

The easing of restrictions was anticipated following a ceasefire agreement which was signed on Monday, following 72 hours of escalation triggered by Israeli forces' killing of two Palestinian protesters on Friday.

But critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza's two million residents.

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