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Israel trying to derail reconstruction of Gaza Strip - official

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published May 22,2022

A Palestinian official on Sunday accused Israel of pressuring donors to derail the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

Naji Sarhan of the Public Works and Housing Ministry said only 20% of homes destroyed in an Israeli military offensive on Gaza last year have been rebuilt.

He said a few roads were rehabilitated following the Israeli onslaught, which left a vast trail of destruction across the Palestinian territory.

"No major achievement has been made in the agriculture and economic sectors," Sarhan added at a press conference held in Gaza City.

At least 260 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in 11 days of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in May 2021 against the backdrop of an Israeli court ruling to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Thirteen Israelis were also killed by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza during the course of the conflict.

The violence, the worst in years, came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce.

While Israel conditions the release of four Israelis held captive by Hamas for allowing the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian resistance group rejects any link between the two issues, saying it will only release the hostages in exchange for Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

Hamas has captured two Israeli soldiers following the Israeli military offensive on Gaza in 2014. Two other Israelis are believed to have been held after they entered Gaza under unclear circumstances.

Israel has imposed a crippling siege on the Gaza Strip since the summer of 2007, which has badly affected livelihood in the Palestinian territory.