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Demonstrations on behalf of a captured Israeli soldier shut down the main crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Israel shut down the Kerem Shalom crossing Sunday morning after dozens of demonstrators calling for the release of Gilad Shalit blocked the area and refused to allow about 80 trucks carrying food and medical supplies to cross into Gaza.

The crossing was scheduled to be open later in the day. A large demonstration also was scheduled for later Sunday in the spot from where Shalit was captured.

Shalit was taken by his Palestinian captors deep into Gaza in a June 2006 cross-border raid.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak criticized the demonstration Sunday in an interview on Army Radio, saying it would raise the price that Shalit’s captors were demanding — currently the release of more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including those directly responsible for the deaths of Israelis.

“The government had almost 2 1/2 years to bring Gilad back without demonstrations and without protests, but failed to do so,” Noam Shalit, father of Gilad, told Ynet Sunday.

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