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Arabs to offer $2bn at Gaza meet in Cairo: Official

Arab states have pledged to present $2 billion at Sunday’s international donors’ conference for the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip, currently underway in Cairo, a Palestinian official said.

The official, requesting anonymity, said that several Arab states over the past month have confirmed this donation sum during meetings with Palestinian ministers in the run up to the one-day event hosted by Cairo with the attendance of 50 state delegations.

The pledged Arab donation would make up half the amount of donations the Palestinian unity government aims to gather at Cairo’s conference in order to implement a reconstruction plan in the war-battered Gaza Strip announced earlier this month.

“We are in dire need for Arab and foreign donations at this point,” the official, who is taking part in Cairo’s donors’ conference, told Anadolu Agency. “No previous war on the Gaza Strip has result in this scale of destruction.”

About 30 foreign ministers and representatives of 20 regional and international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, are taking part in the conference, chaired by Egypt and Norway.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi are also attending the event.

For seven weeks in July and August, Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of halting rocket fire from the Palestinian territory.

The offensive left around 2,160 Palestinians dead and some 11,000 others injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while destroying residential structures and infrastructure across the coastal strip.

Israel also destroyed thousands of homes and facilities in the embattled Palestinian territory, creating tough humanitarian conditions for its Palestinian population of around 1.8 million.

The Arab League said earlier this month that it hoped to raise $5 billion at the conference for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip has reeled under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006.

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