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Israeli Cabinet Approves Sanctions On Palestinians


The Israeli cabinet has overwhelmingly approved a range of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority Sunday, after the militant group Hamas assumed control of the Palestinian parliament.

Among the restrictions, Israel will halt the payment of customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, worth about 50 million dollars per month. It will also prevent residents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from crossing into Israel for work.

Earlier, Israeli Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that a government led by Hamas, which swept last month's parliamentary elections, would be regarded as a terrorist regime.

Saturday, 74 members of Hamas were sworn in as lawmakers in the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council. Afterwards, Hamas said it will not abide by previously signed agreements recognizing Israel's right to exist.

The militant group has nominated a Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, to be the next Palestinian Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials say two members of the militant Popular Resistance Committees have been killed in an Israeli airstrike on the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli army officials say the two men were trying to plant a bomb close to a security fence that separates Gaza from Israel.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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