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Gaza govt begins demolition of homes

July 8, 2012 4:52 P.M. (Updated: July 10, 2012 2:34 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Gaza government on Sunday began the demolition of several homes in Gaza City, saying they are built on government land.

Abu Al-Abed Abu Omra, whose house is threatened with demolition, told Ma'an that police officers arrived late Saturday night and told residents to evacuate their homes in order to facilitate the demolition.

He said that there are more than 120 families living in the 15-dunams area under threat, near Gaza's Al-Azhar University, and they have been there since 1948.

He called on the Gaza cabinet to provide the families with homes in neighboring area al-Sheikh Ijleen in exchange, which he said had been promised to them.

The families had rejected an offer to move to the southern areas of Deir al-Balah and Karni as they are too close to Israel's dangerous no-go zone surrounding the barrier, he said.

In February after authorities demolished a number of homes in the Hamami neighborhood in Gaza City, a municipality engineer told the US-based Electronic Intifada website that the authorities intended to widen a 40-km coastal road to and install a sewage and water network.

The engineer, Hatem al-Sheikh Khaleil, said the project was in cooperation with the Lands Authority and the Palestine Telecommunication Company, funded by a German grant.

The website quoted municipal officials as saying the al-Rashid coastal road was too narrow to absorb the amount of traffic it receives, especially the in summer.

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