Israeli prime minister approves amended wartime budget

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu holds a press conference in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved plans by the finance ministry to amend the state budget as a response to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a joint statement from the prime minister's office and the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

The war-time budget includes "increasing the deficit, channeling funds from government spending in the ministries and cutting the coalition agreements," the statement said without elaborating.

Israel's war with Hamas is set to cost billions of dollars, as Israel recorded a budget deficit of 22.9 billion shekels ($6 billion) in October, citing a spike in expenses to fund the war.

The prime minister and finance minister agreed to bring the budget to Israel's government and parliament "as soon as possible," the statement said, adding that reducing "bureaucracy and barriers" was an important goal for the modified war budget.

(Reporting by Emily Rose; Editing by Alistair Bell)