Israel threatens to cut Gaza electricity

Israel threatened on Thursday to cut off power supplies to the Gaza Strip if there is a major escalation in attacks by Palestinian militants.

Speaking as the latest Palestinian rocket landed on the outskirts of the country's sixth largest city, deputy defence minister Zeev Boim confirmed that the idea of severing electricity supplies had been discussed recently. All of Gaza's electricity is supplied by Israel.

"A serious escalation in violence on the part of the Palestinians could bring about this measure in the future although I hope not," Boim told Israeli radio.

"This idea has been shelved for the immediate future as its impact on an important civilian population is problematic."

Israel has voiced fears of an explosion in Palestinian violence ahead of legislative elections on January 25, with a militant truce due to expire at the end of the year.

There has already been a spike in rocket attacks in recent days, prompting Israeli air strikes and artillery fire on Gaza from where all soldiers were withdrawn in September.

In the latest such attack, a makeshift rocket landed next to a fence surrounding a an electricity station on the outskirts of the southern city of Ashkelon which lies around 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Gaza, AFP reports.


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