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Palestinians look for survivors following Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip. Image Credit: AP

JERUSALEM: Israel will return Gazans working inside the country to the besieged Palestinian territory, the government said, almost four weeks after it began striking Hamas targets there in response to a deadly cross-border attack.

"Israel is severing all contact with Gaza. There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza," the Israeli security cabinet announced in a statement late Thursday.

"Those workers from Gaza who were in Israel on the day of the outbreak of the war will be returned to Gaza," it added, without specifying how many people would be sent back.

Before the Israel-Hamas conflict started, Israel had issued work permits to some 18,500 Gazans, according to COGAT, the Israeli defence body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs.

COGAT did not immediately return a request for information on the number of Gazans working inside Israel at the time of the attack on October 7, when Hamas militants stormed across the border and killed at least 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.

Following this, Israel has struck back hard at the Hamas-controlled territory with a relentless bombing campaign that has killed more than 9,000 people, mainly civilians, according to the territory's Hamas-run health ministry.