Gaza banks close to take stock of cash crisis

Palestinian officials said Thursday that the banks are running out of money and may not be able to cash residents of the Gaza Strip's paychecks in time for a major Muslim festival next week. The Palestinian Monetary Authority said that it had asked Israel to let it ship NIS 140 million ($35 million) from its West bank headquarters to Gaza but had so far not received an answer. Israel blocked cash shipments since October. The action was one of a series of sanctions which Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control there in June 2007. IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said Thursday that the Palestinian request was "under discussion." Gaza banks closed for the day to assess the full extent of the shortfall.