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Israel prepares Gaza power cuts

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Israel may respond to Palestinian rocket fire by cutting power to the Gaza Strip.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i said Wednesday that following a surge of rocket fire from Gaza, Israel drafted a proposal for gradual cutbacks starting this week in the electricity it supplies to the territory.

“We plan to dramatically reduce the two-thirds of power that is supplied by Israel, which will take several weeks,” Vilna’i told Army Radio, adding that precautions would be taken to minimize the humanitarian impact on Palestinians in Gaza.

The plan will be presented Thursday to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and could be implemented immediately. But Barak may opt to ask Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to convene the Security Cabinet for a final vote on the sanctions, which are likely to draw international condemnation.

Israel paved the way for sanctions against Gaza last month when it declared the Hamas-ruled territory an “enemy entity” in response to persistent cross-border rocket salvoes.

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