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Qatar ruler, Hamas chief discuss reconstruction of Gaza

DOHA – Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday met with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Palestinian group Hamas, in Doha, an official statement said.

The two sides discussed the recent developments in Palestine and ongoing efforts for the reconstruction of the blockaded Gaza Strip, a statement by Qatar’s Amiri Diwan said.

Haniyeh thanked Al Thani for Qatar’s diplomatic efforts to stop Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people and establish a cease-fire in Gaza.

Al Thani, for his part, reiterated Qatar’s support to the brotherly Palestinian people and their just cause.

Tension escalated across the Palestinian territories last month over an Israeli court verdict to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of settlement groups. The situation worsened after Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque and assaulted worshippers inside.

The tension spread to the Gaza Strip, with Israel launching airstrikes that killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, and injured more than 1,900 others. Health authorities in the West Bank also confirmed 31 killed in the occupied region, totaling 279 across all Palestinian territories.

Twelve Israelis were also killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The fighting, the fiercest in years, came to a halt on Friday under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.

At least 2,000 buildings were completely destroyed and 15,000 buildings became unusable in the Israeli attacks on the enclave, according to Gaza-based Palestinian Ministry of Labor and Housing.

Some four mosques and dozens of police stations were completely destroyed in the attacks, while many factories in the industrial zone became unusable.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

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