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Gaza official: Egypt to open Rafah for reconstruction effort

Nov. 30, 2012 12:13 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2012 10:19 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Gaza government ministry will sign an agreement with Egypt next week for construction materials to enter the Gaza Strip via Egypt's Rafah crossing, a Palestinian official said Friday.

The Ministry of Public Works will finalize the memorandum of understanding with its Egyptian counterpart on Tuesday or Wednesday, ministry deputy Yasser al-Shatti said.

Rafah is Gaza's only border crossing not controlled by Israel, which imposes a blockade on the coastal strip.

Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has relaxed its own border restrictions, opening the terminal for passengers. However, imports and exports from Gaza were not affected, as Rafah is not equipped for good transfers and its development is restricted under international agreements.

Al-Shatti said the agreement would allow construction materials into Gaza for reconstruction work after Israel bombarded the coastal strip for eight days last week.

Egypt is still studying the mechanisms to transfer the materials, which include high-tech equipment, he said.

Gaza's Minister of Public Works Yousef al-Azziz met the Egyptian housing minister Tariq Wafeeq in Cairo last week to discuss the reconstruction process.
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