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Foreign aid arrives amid Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Foreign aid arrives amid Israel-Hamas ceasefire
Palestinian security officers loyal to the Palestinian Authority check drivers' documents at gate of Kerem Shalom crossing, a main passage point for goods entering Gaza, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

May 22 (UPI) -- Humanitarian aid began to arrive in Gaza on Saturday, the day after a cease-fire began in the 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The Israel Security Cabinet agreed to the Egyptian-brokered deal on Thursday, which took effect Friday, with both sides of the conflict claiming victory.

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Since the truce, Israel has reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing, which allowed various aid agency trucks Saturday to deliver medicine, food and fuel in to Gaza, hard hit by the conflict, BBC News reported.

Palestinian officials told the BBC the impoverished enclave -- also struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic -- will need tens of millions dollars to rebuild.

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The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees added that it was seeking $38 million in aid to help with its focus on identifying and helping tens of thousands of displaced people.

The Israeli bombing on Al-Wahda Street on May 16 killed more than 40 Palestinians, and leveled or damaged every third building, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Across the Gaza Strip, bombings damaged thousands of buildings throughout the 11-day conflict.

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"The damage inflicted in less than two weeks will take years, if not decades to rebuild," Middle East Director for the International Committee of the Red Cross Fabrizio Carboni tweeted Friday. "Root causes must be addressed."

The fighting began May 10 as Hamas began firing rockets at Israel over intention to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their East Jerusalem homes. The Israel bombing campaign in response killed more than 230 people, and at least 12 people in Israel were killed by retaliatory Hamas rocket fire.

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, urging a "humanitarian pause" prior to the cease-fire, said fighting displaced some 75,000 people, including 47,000 seeking shelter in U.N. schools across Gaza and 28,700 staying with foster families.

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Scenes from fighting in Israel, Gaza

Hamas militants parade through Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an anti-Israel rally on May 28. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

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