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Israel allows 1,000 tons of cement into Gaza

Israeli authorities allow 1,000 tons of cement paid for by Qatar to enter the Gaza Strip, officials say, in the first serious step toward rebuilding the territory.

A 50-day war last summer between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory, decimated entire neighborhoods across Gaza and left 100,000 people homeless.

The international community has warned that without serious and immediate reconstruction efforts, another conflict is just around the corner.

“Today 1,000 tons of cement paid for by Qatar entered the Gaza Strip for a project included in the scope of the reconstruction mechanism,” Israel’s coordinating body for government policy in the Palestinian territories (COGAT) says in a statement.

“There are no fixed quantities (going in) on a daily basis. The quantities (delivered) are at the request of the Palestinian Authority in accordance with the needs of suppliers who are purchasing in Gaza,” it says.

Palestinian officials confirm the entry of cement, which they said 175 trucks brought in through the Kerem Shalom goods crossing in southern Gaza.

It is the biggest quantity of building material to come into Gaza in one go since fighting ended in August.

Palestinian officials say the same quantity will need to enter Gaza each day in order to repair damage within three years.

— AFP

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