Egypt pledges $500 million to rebuild Gaza, sends medical aid
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged Tuesday $500 million to help reconstruction efforts in Gaza, his office said, after a week of Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian enclave.
"Egypt will provide $500 million... for the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip as a result of recent events, with expert Egyptian construction companies implementing the rebuilding," the presidency said in a statement.
Cairo has sought to mediate a ceasefire between Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas and Israel since the deadly violence erupted on May 10.
Since then, Israeli air strikes have killed more than 200 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Twelve people have been killed on the Israeli side, according to authorities in the Jewish state.
Sisi is holding talks in Paris with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Jordan's King Abdullah II aimed at seeking a rapid truce to the lethal conflict.
Egypt also sent 65 tonnes of medical aid to neighbouring Gaza, its healthy ministry said.
With a $500 million pledge, #Egypt is now among the first countries to offer help in the reconstruction of #Gaza; an unprecedented gesture that mainly signifies the unimaginable amount of damage #Israel inflicted on Gaza's civilian infrastructure this escalation! https://t.co/7mh1QojAYR— Muhammad Shehada (@muhammadshehad2) May 18, 2021
With hospitals in Gaza overwhelmed by patients, the critical surgical supplies include specialist burns treatment as well as "ventilators, oxygen tanks (and) syringes," Health Minister Hala Zayed said late Monday.
Sisi on Sunday ordered the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt -- the enclave's only border point not controlled by Israel -- to open to allow wounded Gazans to be treated in Egyptian hospitals and to deliver aid.
Sources at Rafah on Tuesday said that 26 trucks of food had been sent to Gaza, with 50 ambulances ready to transport the wounded.
Egypt said it would make space in 11 hospitals nationwide at a capacity of over 1,800 beds.
Israel launched its aerial bombing campaign on Gaza after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets in response to police violence against Palestinians and the planned expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
The Israeli strikes have killed 213 people, including 61 children, and wounded more than 1,400 in Gaza, according to the health ministry.
The UN says nearly 40,000 Gazans have been displaced and 2,500 have lost their homes.
Strikes have knocked out the only Covid-19 testing laboratory in the blockaded enclave, the health ministry has said.