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Israel reopens Gaza crossing for flower, strawberry export

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GAZA, Jan, 3 (Xinhua) -- Israel has on Sunday opened one of the border crossing points in southern Gaza Strip to export flowers and strawberries to Europe and allow humanitarian aids and fuels into the impoverished enclave, officials said.

Raed Fatouh, chief of coordinating goods entrance into Gaza told Xinhua that "the Israeli occupation authorities reopened Kerem Shalom crossing point to allow around 74 trucks loaded with humanitarian aids and fuels into Gaza."

He added that "Israel has also allowed Gaza farmers for the first time to export trucks loaded with strawberries from the Gaza Strip to the outside world, in addition to one truck loaded with flowers."

Israel had decided to let Gaza farmers to export all their produces of flowers and strawberries for this season that ends in May 2010. It is the first time that Israel allows export from Gaza since Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007. Last week, 30,000 flowers were exported from Gaza to Europe.

Meanwhile, Fatouh added that Israel would pump limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel to operate Gaza power station through Kerem Shalom Crossing point, adding that Israel kept two other crossing points closed.

Egypt has also decided to reopen Rafah border crossing point between Gaza Strip and Egypt for three days to allow hundreds of stranded Palestinians on the two sides of the crossing to cross into both Gaza and Egypt.

Palestinian sources at Rafah crossing said that Egypt would let Palestinians who ended their medical treatment at Egyptian hospitals to cross into Gaza and would let students and patients from Gaza to cross into Egypt.