Egyptian convoy of 50 vehicles bringing reconstruction materials arrives in Gaza
At least 3,000 homes in the Palestinian enclave were destroyed or damaged beyond repair during the 11-day conflict with Israel
Egypt has sent a convoy of engineers and building equipment to Gaza to begin reconstruction in the enclave following the recent Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Egyptian state television reported on Friday.
Dozens of bulldozers, cranes and trucks flying Egyptian flags lined up along the border to begin crossing into the Gaza Strip, television pictures showed.
Palestinians lined the street on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing to welcome the convoy as it rumbled into the coastal enclave. A Palestinian border official said 50 vehicles had crossed.
"We rushed with all our money, equipment and what we owned to join the Palestinians in the rebuilding. Every Muslim and every Egyptian wishes to take part in [the reconstruction]," Egyptian truck driver Mahmoud Ismail told Reuters in Gaza.
Eleven days of conflict between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, erupted on May 10.
More than 250 Palestinians were killed in hundreds of Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Rockets fired by Gaza militants killed 13 people in Israel.
Egypt played a major role in brokering a ceasefire and has said it will allocate $500 million to fund the rebuilding of devastated areas in Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem on Friday reiterated the group's appreciation of Egyptian contributions to the rebuilding efforts.
Gaza’s housing ministry said 1,500 housing units were destroyed during the fighting, another 1,500 housing units had been damaged beyond repair and 17,000 suffered partial damage. A ministry official put the cost of rebuilding at $150 million.
Egypt in February opened the Rafah crossing,until further notice after Palestinian factions moved towards reconciliation following talks in Cairo.
It had previously been opening the crossing for only a few days at a time to allow stranded travellers to pass.
The 365-square-kilometre Gaza Strip, is home to around two million Palestinians.
An Israeli blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years.
Updated: June 5, 2021 10:29 AM