Qatari aid to Gaza expected in coming days: source

Gaza: Qatari aid money is expected to be delivered to the Gaza Strip in the coming days after Israel blocked its delivery over unrest along the border, a source close to the Qatari ambassador said Thursday.

Israeli media reported Thursday that the country’s security cabinet had agreed to permit the money to be brought to Gaza after temporarily blocking it, but there was no official confirmation.

Mohammed al-Emadi, ambassador of the Gulf state to Gaza, entered the strip through the Erez crossing from Israel late Wednesday, the source reported.

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But he arrived without the $15 million to be used to pay Hamas civil servants and provide support for impoverished Gazans.

“We expect the third payment to be allowed to enter Gaza in the coming days,” the source said without giving more details.

The ambassador had been expected to bring the funds with him, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to block the delivery on Wednesday, according to an Israeli official.

The decision was made after Israeli troops came under fire on the Gaza border Tuesday, with one lightly injured when a bullet struck the soldier’s helmet.

Israel hit back with tank fire and an air strike on Hamas military posts.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and fears of a fourth round remain, although violence has abated since November under an informal truce.

Under the agreement Israel has allowed Qatar, a rare Hamas ally, to bring in aid to the strip, including $15 million a month to pay salaries of Hamas civil servants and assist impoverished residents.

The payment would be the third of six planned tranches, totalling $90 million, in connection with the truce.

Israel’s permission is required since the cash must be delivered via its territory.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer.

Israel has also allowed Qatari-financed fuel to enter Gaza to help ease a severe electricity shortage in the blockaded enclave.


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