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Israel Allows Cash Into Gaza

Israeli military on Thursday permitted armored trucks carrying 100 million shekels ($25 million) from banks in the West Bank to enter the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after a serious cash crunch there threatened to bring down the territory's banks.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office said that the cash transfer was authorized after receiving requests from Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Stanley Fischer, the head of Israel's central bank.

The cash allowed into the Gaza is expected to be used for paying salaries to the civil servants in the besieged Palestinian territory. Earlier, the banks in the Gaza Strip had shut down on 4th December after they ran shot of cash to pay the salaries of thousands of Palestinian Authority employees.

Soon after receiving the cash, the Palestinian treasury said in a statement that the civil servants in the Gaza Strip would receive their salaries from Friday.

Israel had halted money transfers to Gaza in October after the Islamic militants there renewed rocket and mortar attacks on Israel in violation of an Egyptian brokered peace deal.

Last week, the World Bank had warned about the possible collapse of the territory's banking system over the cash shortages caused by the strict Israeli blockade.

Israel had imposed a strict blockade of the Gaza Strip ever since after Hamas, a radical Islamist group, came to power in the territory in June 2007, ousting the secularist Fatah party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas.

In the past, Israel has relaxed some of its restrictions on shipments of aid and other essential supplies to the Gaza as per an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which has largely held despite occasional violations from both sides.

The deal requires the Gaza militants to end rocket fire into Israel, while Israel is to ease its blockade on the Palestinian territory.

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