Qatar opens Gaza artificial limb, rehab center after delays
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Qatar opens Gaza artificial limb, rehab center after delays

Lack of qualified staff and funding had prevented Hamas from operating the facility since its construction in 2012

In this combination of 10 photos taken on September 19, 2018, Palestinians shot in the legs during demonstrations and riots at the Gaza strip's border with Israel await treatment at a Gaza City clinic run by MSF (Doctors Without Borders). (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this combination of 10 photos taken on September 19, 2018, Palestinians shot in the legs during demonstrations and riots at the Gaza strip's border with Israel await treatment at a Gaza City clinic run by MSF (Doctors Without Borders). (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Qatar on Monday inaugurated the Gaza Strip’s first prosthetic hospital and disability rehab center, after many delays.

Officials from the oil-rich Arab nation attended the opening in Gaza City.

Qatar built the hospital after its then-emir visited Gaza in 2012. It was the first visit by a head of state since the Hamas terror group violently seized control of the territory from the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in 2007.

But a lack of qualified staff and funding prevented Hamas from operating the center.

Eventually, the Qatar Fund for Development trained the hospital’s 150-member staff locally and abroad. It has assumed the project’s expenses for now.

Health officials say the 100-bed hospital is vital for Gaza, where more than 130 Palestinians have lost limbs over the past year during ongoing protests along the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence.

Palestinians riot on the Gaza border, April 12, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

Aid groups say thousands of Palestinians were shot in the legs during the protests, and many will need followup surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

“These are complex and serious injuries that do not quickly heal,” the Paris-based Doctors Without Borders group said in December. “Their severity and the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza’s crippled health system means that infection is a high risk, especially for patients with open fractures.”

Qatar, along with Egypt and the United Nations, recently brokered ceasefire understandings between Israel and Hamas, which Hebrew media reports have said include an end to violence emanating from the Gaza in exchange for the Jewish state easing some of its restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the coastal enclave.

The understandings between Israel and the terror group have also seen Qatari cash infusions enter the Strip.

In November, the Gulf state, which is a longtime Hamas ally, committed to around $15 million a month in aid over six months.

Part of the funds were originally used to pay salaries of Hamas employees, but that was stopped after political opposition in Israel.

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