Palestinian unity Cabinet to hold first session in Gaza, sign it's taking charge of rebuilding

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A senior official says the Palestinian unity government will hold its first Cabinet meeting in Gaza this week, a key step toward taking charge of reconstruction efforts in the war-battered territory.

Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa says the Cabinet will convene Thursday.

That's three days before an international pledging conference where the Palestinian government seeks $4 billion for Gaza, hit hard by a recent war between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas.

Donors view the unity government of independents led by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as key to reconstruction plans.

Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, but financial difficulties forced the group to hand over some powers to a unity government this spring. Unresolved disputes had kept the government from operating in Gaza until now.