RAMALLAH, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian officials announced Tuesday that Israel agreed to allow construction materials into the Gaza Strip, which was the first time in six years.
The agreement comes as Egypt stepped up its military operations on its borders with the Gaza Strip, destroying more smuggling tunnels which have been Hamas' lifeline.
The 50 truckloads of building materials will enter into Gaza on Sunday via Kerem Shalom, the only commercial crossing point Israel kept operating since its closure on the coastal enclave in 2007, said Ra'd Fattouh, a Palestinian liaison officer.
At the beginning, the shipments of gravel, cement and steel would be limited, Fattouh added.
Hussein Al-Shiekh, minister of civil affairs, said the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) reached an agreement with Israel allowing the entry of construction materials into Gaza, adding that the amounts of materials permitted will be increased gradually.
Al-Sheikh said that the PNA seeks to get more approvals from Israel, including providing the Gaza Strip's only power plant with diesel and resuming drinkable water supplies to Gaza via direct pipes from Israel.
Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza to isolate Hamas, the Islamic militant group that seized the territory after routing the PNA's forces and ousting President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.
In 2010, Israel eased the restrictions, allowing consumer goods into Gaza and construction materials for international organizations implementing vital infrastructure projects.
GAZA, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- As most of sewage pumping stations stop working due to lack of fuel, the fuel shortage in the Hamas- ruled Gaza Strip risks environmental disaster, environment officials in Gaza said on Tuesday.
Bahaoldin al-Agha, director of the environment protection authorities in Gaza, told Xinhua that if the fuel shortage keeps growing, the sewage pumping stations in the Gaza Strip will completely stop working, "and the entire Gaza Strip will be flooded with sewage water." Full story