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oPt: Israel puts off sending limited aid to Gaza

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GAZA, Nov 20, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Israel on Thursday put off sending limited amounts of aid into Gaza due to the continuation of rocket- fire from the Hamas-controlled territory, said a Palestinian source.

Raed Fatouh, head of a private-sector committee that connects with Israel, noted that "Israel retreated from opening the (Kerem Shalom) crossing under the pretext that Palestinian rockets have landed on Israeli settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip."

Kerem Shalom crossing point in southeastern Gaza Strip was scheduled to open Thursday to allow 35 trucks of food into the enclave.

Among the 35 trucks, 20 loaded with aid were supposed to go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which reduced food distribution to 750,000 refugees due to the lack of rations, according to Fatouh. The other 15 trucks were carrying flour and dairy products imported by private companies.

The armed Palestinian groups resumed rocket attacks into Israeli border towns in response to a series of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip started on Nov. 4. At least 15 Palestinian militants have been killed in the Israeli attacks.

Israeli security establishment ordered on Nov. 5 the full closure of all goods crossings between Israel and Gaza.

The recent violence rocked an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip. The five- month-old ceasefire calls on Israel to ease Gaza blockade in exchange for halting cross-border violence.

The closure of the crossings affected health and public service sectors as the lack of fuel forced the only power plant in the territory to shut down since last Thursday.