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Israel begins reducing Gaza electricity supply

"The reason is that Hamas prefers to use the money for digging tunnels...and the people get only what is left over from that", he said.

The decision will shorten the daily average of four hours of power to Gaza's two million residents by 45 minutes, Israel's security cabinet said.

Gaza's only power plants stopped operating in August so residents and businesses rely on electricity from Israel as well as batteries, generators and candles.

The company confirmed that the Israeli government instructed it to reduce the power supply to Gaza at the request of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' government in the West Bank.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel was strictly the "supplier of electricity and was prepared to supply electricity" if the Palestinians paid for it.

The PA's efforts to squeeze Hamas come as the terror group celebrates the ten-year anniversary of its bloody 2007 takeover of Gaza, when it killed and expelled forces loyal to the Fatah party, which rules the PA.

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Acting on the behest of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel's electric company on Monday cut back its supply of power to the Gaza Strip, a step taken to put pressure on the Hamas terror group, which controls the seaside territory.

Electricity in Gaza is set to become yet more scarce as supplies to the strip will be scaled back by 40 percent.

Israel "began to reduce electricity flow by eight megawatts" into the enclave, Gaza's energy authority said. They reportedly offered Hamas a quid pro quo: a more open border and a supply of electricity in return for handing over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terrorism charges, cessation of weapons smuggling into Sinai, among other demands.

In April, he reinstated taxes on fuel bound for Gaza's only power plant, making Hamas unable to afford it.

Until today, Israel supplied 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza a month, which made up approximately one quarter of the enclave's needs, with the Palestinian Authority paying the 11.3 million euros (USD 12.65 million) monthly bill.

The Gaza energy authority said Monday's "dangerous" reduction would have "serious effects" in a territory already suffering from chronic power shortages.

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