WORLD Israel allows shipment of civil defense vehicles into Gaza 1st time in 12 years

WORLD

Israel allows shipment of civil defense vehicles into Gaza 1st time in 12 years

Xinhua

07:36, December 18, 2019

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Israeli soldiers inspect a missile launched from Gaza Strip inside a kibbutz in Israel near the border with Gaza, June 20, 2018. (Photo: AP)

GAZA, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli authorities allowed on Tuesday the shipment of 24 firefighting vehicles used for civil defense in the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007, officials in Gaza said.

Ra'ed al-Dahshan, spokesman of the Islamic Hamas movement-run Civil Defense in the Gaza Strip, told Xinhua that the 24 vehicles are a donation from Qatar and include firefighting and ambulances.

"The vehicles were shipped to the Gaza Strip through the Israeli-controlled crossing of Kerem Shalom on the borders between southern Gaza Strip and Israel," he said, adding "the vehicles are 4-by-4 equipped with water pumps."

He said that shipping the vehicles to the Gaza Strip "is an unprecedented positive step amid an Israeli blockade that has been imposed on the territory since 2007."

Meanwhile, Zuhari Shahin, director of Civil Defense in Gaza, said in a press statement that the Qatari donation of vehicles "is so necessary in light of the lack of financial resources."

"Our civil defense equipment that are operating in the field in the Gaza Strip lack modernity and need repairment," said Shahin, adding that "this is due to the Israeli siege."

He said that during the past 12 years, Israel waged three large-scale wars on the Gaza Strip, and targeted civil defense crews and equipment.

The Qatari Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi, also head of the Qatari Committee to Reconstruct the Gaza Strip, is scheduled to arrive in the Gaza Strip soon to supervise the delivery of vehicles and tools to the Civil Defense.

The Gaza Civil Defense Authority owns 33 fire trucks that serve Gaza's two million people, including one fire truck with a hydraulic platform.

Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, after the Islamic Hamas Movement seized it by force, after rounds of internal fighting with the security forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority in 2007.


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