Palestinian government slashes salaries for Gaza employees

The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority says it has slashed the salaries of some 50,000 government employees in the Gaza Strip who have been sitting idly since the rival Hamas militant group took over the coastal territory a decade ago.

Spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud said on Wednesday that salaries would be cut by 30 percent because of a reduction in foreign aid.

He says that "without this step, the government cannot pay the salaries of its employees."

The Palestinian Authority ordered its workers to step down after the Hamas takeover in 2007. But it has continued to pay the salaries of former policemen, teachers and civil servants.

The decision deepens the divide between the two territories and will increase hardship in Gaza, where the economy already is in poor shape.