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Wednesday, May 11, 2011     GET REAL

Hamas credits foreign donations as reconstruction begins in Gaza

GAZA CITY — Hamas has reported the launch of a reconstruction effort in the Gaza Strip paid for by foreign donors.


Hamas reported $30 million in foreign donations for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Officials said the first stage of the program, located in the south, has begun.

"We can assure our people that the reconstruction stage has already begun practically," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said.

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In an address on May 7, Haniyeh said Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were contributing to the fund, Middle East Newsline reported. The prime minister said the Islamic regime would oversee the construction of thousands of apartment units more than two years after the end of the Hamas-Israel war in January 2009.

"The Public Works Ministry has begun to erect complete residential areas granted to residents according to specific arrangements and procedures," Haniyeh said.

In the first stage, Hamas allocated 1,800 hectares, or nearly 450 acres, in the Isra area of southern Gaza. The prime minister said Egypt and Qatar would help the project, but did not elaborate.

Saudi Arabia was also said to be helping the reconstruction program. Officials said the kingdom's Islamic Bank has pledged $137 million for infrastructure and sanitation projects in 2011.

Officials said Turkey was also contributing to the Hamas program. They said Islamist charities in Turkey, including those that sponsored the Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine people were killed by the Israel Navy in April 2010, were providing support.

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