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Egypt unrest slows down Gaza construction

July 4, 2013 5:58 P.M. (Updated: July 6, 2013 9:06 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Unrest in Egypt has slowed down construction in the Gaza Strip, which relies on building materials smuggled in through cross-border tunnels, a union official said Thursday.

Israel only allows construction material into Gaza through its border for internationally-funded and approved projects, and this is the only building material available in Gaza since the tunnel trade slowed down, said Nabil Abu Meiliq, head of the union of Palestinian contractors.

Abu Meiliq says no construction material is coming into Gaza from Egypt. Construction is down to 20 percent since tunnel traffic halted, ending a brief building boom in Gaza, Abu Meiliq told Ma'an.

Several projects funded by the Qatari government are on hold, including the Sheikh Hamad city, due to shortages of materials including cement, Abu Meiliq added.

Before smuggling tunnels closed, a ton of cement cost around 400 shekels ($110), but each ton is now selling for up to 1,000 shekels.

Abu Meiliq said the shortages were not a result of monopolies, but of high demand and very low supply.

Muhammad Abu Sido, a TV director from Gaza City, told Ma'an he had stopped work on his 3-storey home due to cement shortages.
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