Israel will pay $500 million to rebuild destroyed homes in Gaza

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Israel will pay $500 million to rebuild destroyed homes in Gaza

A Palestinian man walks in Gaza Strip towards a house that was damaged during Israel-Hamas fighting in Khan Younis on 26 September 2021. ReUTERS Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

GAZA, Sept 26 Reuters - The reconstruction of homes in Gaza that were destroyed or damaged in the May conflict between Hamas and Israel will be undertaken with aid from Qatar in the first week of October, a senior Palestinian housing official said on Sunday.

Israel says Hamas-led government says that during the 11-day conflict, Israeli Air Strike destroyed about 2,200 homes in the enclave and 37,000 others damaged. Some homes in Israel were destroyed by Israeli rockets launched by the militant Hamas organisation and other Gaza militant groups.

About 1,800 damaged or destroyed homes will be rebuilt in the first phase of work, according to Naji Sarhan, Gaza's deputy minister for housing and public works.

He said that Israel had lifted some restrictions on steel and cement entering the territory in recent days. Last week, Egypt began repairing Gaza's main tourist road, part of the broader plan to revamp Gaza infrastructure.

Palestinian officials say 250 people, including 66 children, have been killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Israeli officials say 13 people, including two children, were killed by militants in Israel by the Israeli rockets.

Immediately following the May 21 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.

However, after an agreement with the United Nations and Qatar about 20 million of the Gulf states allowed aid from Israel to enter Gaza this month. The disbursement will be followed by $50 million in Qatari funds earmarked for rebuilding homes, Sarhan said.

Gaza officials estimate it will take $479 million to rebuild homes damaged in the May fighting. Qatar and Egypt pledged $500 million each for Palestinian reconstruction in Gaza.