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Originally published Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 9:36 AM

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Israel eases building materials blockade on Gaza

The Israeli military says tons of building materials will start crossing daily into the Gaza Strip from Israel if the quiet along their border holds.

The Associated Press

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JERUSALEM —

The Israeli military says tons of building materials will start crossing daily into the Gaza Strip from Israel if the quiet along their border holds.

It's the first significant easing of a near-ban Israel had imposed on such shipments after Hamas militants seized the Palestinian territory five years ago. The new policy is also the first key concession to Hamas since an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire ended eight days of fighting last month.

A military spokesperson said Monday that Israel began allowing shipments of gravel to Gaza's private sector on Sunday because the Israeli attacks on Hamas' military operations in November cowed the militant organization into quiet.

Israel says that construction materials like cement, gravel and metal rods can be used to make fortifications and weapons.

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