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Palestinian children look out of the window of a destroyed building bearing graffiti in Gaza City's Al-Shejaiya suburb on December 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO -

8 Palestinian ministers to head to Gaza Monday

AFP, GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Eight Palestinian unity government ministers are to travel to Gaza from its West Bank base on Monday for only the second time since its   formation in June, a minister said. The government was the fruit of an April reconciliation deal between the Islamist Hamas movement and the Fatah organisation of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.But Abbas has repeatedly complained that Hamas has prevented it asserting its authority in Gaza, where the Islamists have been dominant since ousting Fatah loyalists in 2007.The eight ministers are travelling to Gaza to “carry out their duties”, labour minister Mamun Abu Shahla said.He said security concerns sparked by a spate of bombings targeting the property of Fatah officials in Gaza early last month had prevented them from doing so sooner.Abu Shahla said that prime minister Rami Hamdallah, who cancelled a planned visit to Gaza in the wake of the bombings, would not accompany the ministers.”His duties have kept him in Ramallah where he is continuing talks with an Arab state which is soon going to disburse a large sum for the reconstruction of Gaza,” the minister said.He did not specify which country was offering the aid to rebuild the territory, which was devastated by a 50-day summer war between Israel and Hamas.The eight ministers who are travelling to Gaza from the West Bank town of Ramallah are the ministers of health, education, social affairs and local government, and the heads of the water, power and environment agencies, who have ministerial rank.The unity government has only met once in Gaza — on Oct. 9 ahead of a major donors’ conference for the territory.Before its formation in June, Hamas and Fatah led rival ad Add Mediaministrations in Gaza and the West Bank.

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