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Iran lays out plan for Gaza reconstruction

Source: Press TV

As Israel completes its troop pullout from Gaza after 23 days of war, Iran announces plans for the reconstruction of the devastated strip.

Gaza in ruins (photo by Sameh A. Habeeb)

With the true scale of the destruction inside the strip gradually becoming clear, Iran lays out details of its aid program to help reconstruct the embattled Palestinian territory.

Tehran's Gaza Reconstruction Headquarters said on Wednesday that it is set to start building 1,000 residential homes, 10 schools, 5 mosques, and 500 trade centers in the coastal territory and help reconstruct the city's devastated infrastructure and economy.

The restoration and full equipment of one hospital and one university, providing medical care for 4,000 of Gaza's wounded, providing aid work for the bereaved families of the victims of the 23 day war, and caring for the needs 1,000 of Gaza's orphans are among other services Iran intends to offer.

Hamas followed Israel in agreeing to a ceasefire on Sunday, ending three weeks of heavy fighting that left much of Gaza in ruins.

Palestinian medical sources in Gaza say at least 1,340 Palestinians were killed - nearly one-third of the victims were children - and 5,400 others were injured in the Israeli Operation Cast Lead.

According to the Israeli army, 13 Israelis, including three civilians, were killed during the offensive.

More bodies are still being pulled out from under heaps of rubble, and the Gazan death toll is expected to rise further.

According to the Palestinian statistics bureau, a total of 22,000 buildings have been damaged or wrecked.

The UN humanitarian chief said on Wednesday that hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid will be immediately needed to help Gaza's 1.5 million people and billions of dollars will be required to rebuild its shattered buildings and infrastructure. Israel has declared that it would keep a tight grip on the Gaza reconstruction process by requiring "project-by-project approval", diplomats said.

UN chief John Holmes urged Israel to fully open all border crossings with Gaza to allow a free flow of goods and added that unless Israel allowed building materials into Gaza reconstruction could not begin.

Amid a shortage of vital supplies in the beleaguered territory, a Press TV correspondent reported on Wednesday that Israel refused to allow prominent European medical teams and Human Rights Watch representatives to enter Gaza.

... Payvand News - 01/21/09 ... --

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