Reuters are reporting that Israel has resumed cement shipments to the Gaza Strip, ending a 45-day-old ban it imposed after it accused the Palestinian enclave's Hamas rulers of seizing some of the stock meant for rebuilding homes destroyed in a 2014 war.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, welcomed the resumption of the shipments.
Palestinian officials said they expected some 4000 t of the material would be brought in by the end of the day.
The UN announced that 140 000 houses were partially or completely damaged during the 2014 war between Israel and the Hamas-led Gaza militants.
Adnan Abu Hasna, media adviser for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, said 1000 houses were currently under reconstruction and 70 000 other homes with minor damage have been repaired. Another 1000 houses were completely rebuilt by Qatar.
UN officials and international visitors to the region in past weeks have urged Israel to speed up the entry of construction material into Gaza to speed up the rebuilding process.
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