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Eight ministers arrive in Gaza to launch reconstruction

The ministers are part of a 50-member team of officials who will launch ‘the actual start of reconstruction’

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Eight ministers part of the Palestinian unity government arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday to launch the reconstruction of the enclave devastated by a 50-day war with Israel, Agence France-Presse reported.

The ministers are part of a 50-member team of officials who will launch “the actual start of reconstruction,” government spokesman Ihab Bsesio told AFP.

This marks the second visit by officials from Ramallah since the establishment of a unity government in June following an April reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly complained that Hamas has blocked the government from asserting its authority in Gaza, where the group has been dominant since ousting Fatah loyalists in 2007.

The Palestinian government says rebuilding the battered territory, which has experienced three wars in just six years, will cost around $4 billion.

The eight ministers who are travelling to Gaza from the West Bank city of Ramallah are the ministers of health, education, social affairs and local government, and the heads of the water, power and environment agencies, who have ministerial rank.

A spate of bombings last month targeting the property of Fatah officials in Gaza prompted Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah to cancel a scheduled visit.