Qatar, Egypt agree to supply fuel and basic building materials to war-ravaged Gaza

4:23 pm on 18 November 2021

Qatar and Egypt have signed agreements to supply fuel and basic building materials to the Gaza Strip, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Palestinians inspect a building, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021.

Palestinians inspect a Gaza Strip building destroyed during the fighting between Israel and Hamas in May. Photo: AFP

The announcement was made in Oslo by Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar's minister of state for foreign affairs, during a ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the international donor group for Palestinians.

"He (Muraikhi) affirmed that these joint collaborative efforts will contribute to improving living conditions (in Gaza)," the Ministry statement said.

About 2200 homes in the enclave were destroyed and 37,000 others were damaged during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in May, says Gaza's Hamas-run government.

Some homes in Israel were damaged by rockets launched by Islamist organisation Hamas and other Gaza militant groups.

Palestinian officials say 250 people, including 66 children, were killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Israeli officials say 13 people, including two children, were killed in Israel by militant rockets.

Following a 21 May ceasefire, mediated by Egypt, access to reconstruction funds and materials has been a key Hamas demand. Israel limits construction materials entering the territory, saying Hamas uses them to build weapons to wage attacks.

But following an agreement with the United Nations and Qatar, Israel allowed financial aid from the Gulf state to enter Gaza.

Gaza officials estimate it will cost US$479 million (NZ$685m) to rebuild homes and infrastructure damaged in the May fighting. Qatar and Egypt have each pledged US$500m (NZ$715m) for Gaza reconstruction.

(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Omar Fahmy; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Peter Cooney)

- Reuters

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