Qatar opens Gaza artificial limb rehab centre
Officials from the oil-rich Arab nation attended the opening Monday in Gaza City for the hospital which was built during a visit by the previous emir in 2012.
It was the first visit by a head of state to Gaza since Hamas took control of the territory from the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.
But a lack of qualified staff and funding prevented Hamas from operating the centre.
Eventually, the Qatar Fund for Development trained the hospital's 150-member staff locally and abroad. It has assumed the project's expenses for now.
Health officials say the 100-bed hospital is vital for Gaza, where more than 130 Palestinians have lost limbs over the past year during ongoing protests, called the Great March of Return, along Gaza-Israel perimeter fence
Gazans received $100 pay-outs from Qatar last month, the latest trance of funds under an informal deal between Hamas and Israel.
Qatar had pledged to send $15 million to Gaza monthly as part of an informal agreement between Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas reached in November.
Under that deal Israel allowed the grants to go through its territory in exchange for relative calm on the Gaza border.
But the deal became a major bone of political contention in Israel. Funds were initially used to pay salaries of Hamas employees but, after criticism in Israel, is now funnelled into cash for work programmes with the UN.
The impoverished strip, which has a population of around two million, has been under a crippling Israeli blockade for more than a decade.
Residents receive on average only four hours of electricity a day, and the unemployment rate is one of the world's highest.
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