GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Qatar is planning to provide half a billion dollars in assistance to the Gaza Strip over the coming three years to rebuild infrastructure destroyed in Israeli attacks.
In a visit to the enclave Tuesday, Qatari ambassador Muhammad al-Imadi said the Gulf country's emir created a special committee to distribute some $450 million for infrastructure, development and education projects.
The committee has already started consultations with Palestinian officials, he said.
Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, thanked Qatar for its position on the 2008-2009 Cast Lead operation and against the blockade.
He also applauded Qatar's efforts to reconstruct buildings destroyed in the assault. "Qatar has always been the first country in supporting the Palestinian cause," he said.
Haniyeh also said that the projects would provide thousands of job opportunities, and he promised to provide all the needed facilities to implement these projects.
During Cast Lead some 3,500 homes were completely destroyed, UN agencies say.
Rebuilding efforts have been hampered by Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has limited the import of construction materials.