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Israel threatens strike against Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM, June 8 (UPI) -- The Palestinian government is urging calm amid threats of an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian government spokesman said.

Israel Sunday closed the country to entry from the occupied Palestinian territories for the Shavuot holiday, sealing off the West Bank and Gaza. The closure was announced on Israeli radio and was planned to last until Monday, reported KUNA, the Kuwaiti news agency.

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It said the decision bans entry into the country from the occupied territories except for emergencies, and tightened security at checkpoints and demarcation lines to guard against terrorist attacks.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said Sunday measures should be taken by both sides to avoid escalation, WAFA reported.

The Jerusalem Post said a decision on whether to attack will be made Tuesday during a meeting among Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

"Under the current circumstances, accepting a cease-fire would appear as if we are giving in to Hamas' demands and ultimatums," a senior defense official said.

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Under the new strategy, the Israeli military will not reoccupy the Gaza Strip but will instead initiate an incursion to make Hamas "pay a price," and then agree to a cease-fire.

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