The Defense Ministry instructed the Israel Electric Company Thursday evening to begin reducing the flow of electricity in one of the power lines to the Gaza Strip by 5 percent, Army Radio reported. The initial power cut, part of the government's punitive measures against Hamas, was expected to be followed by further 5% reductions in two additional lines in the next two weeks. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i said the move was another step in the process to decrease Gaza's dependency on Israel. "We alerted Hamas and Egypt of the current step through diplomatic channels. They received very clear notification." "Israel's topmost interest is to stop its connection to the Strip. We won't supply electricity to Kassam production facilities. Eventually they need to start taking care of themselves - and they will take care of themselves." The power cutback was made possible last week, when the High Court of Justice turned down appeals by several human rights groups against the planned sanctions.