Israel will allow building materials for private projects into Gaza for the first time since 2007, when the Palestinian terror group Hamas seized control of the territory. An Israeli defense official said that Israel’s decision came after a request by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel previously has allowed the shipment to Gaza of cement, steel, and concrete, wall of which are “dual-use” items that can be used to build weapons factories and Kassam rockets, on the condition that they are for public works projects.

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Gaza has suffered a new shortage of building materials since Egyptian authorities closed the border after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in early July. Egypt’s new government has accused Hamas of aiding terror groups in the bordering Sinai Peninsula as well as supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. But Egyptian authorities this week have announced that they will be opening the Gaza border for a few hours a day.

In addition to the crackdown, Egypt has begun destroying the network of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border that Hamas uses to import rockets, weapons, and other goods.

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