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Israel Decides to Brand Gaza 'Enemy Entity'

19 September 2007

Top Israeli Cabinet ministers have decided to declare the Gaza Strip an "enemy entity," opening the way for cuts in vital supplies to the Palestinian territory controlled by the militant Islamic group Hamas.

Officials say Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's "Security Cabinet" of key ministers voted Wednesday, following extensive legal consultations.

They say the move is in response to continuing cross-border rocket fire by Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from the coastal territory in 2005 after 38 years of occupation. But it controls Gaza's borders, air space and coastal waters, leaving the Palestinian territory dependent on the Jewish state for utilities and imports of humanitarian aid.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in June after deadly fighting with the rival Fatah faction led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr. Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian government and appointed a new administration based in the West Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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