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Qatar renews calls for Gaza airport

Gaza's airport was destroyed in 2001 [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 December, 2018

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Qatar's envoy charged with managing humanitarian supplies to Gaza has said he proposed an airport for the besieged strip.

A Qatari official said he will renew calls for an airport to be established in Gaza after a previous request was denied by Israel.

Qatari Ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi, who is in charge of the emirate's delivery of aid to Gaza, blamed Israel for delaying making a decision to allow air links to the Palestinian territory.

"They (Israel) said it would be discussed and they procrastinated ... We will renew our request," Emadi said, according to Gaza-based news agency SAWA.

"The Israeli side had security concerns and we told them we can resolve them by having the planes fly to Doha and return to Gaza from there and under Qatari security supervision," Reuters quoted the ambassador saying.

Israel had proposed to build an airport for Gaza on its side of the border, he said, although this was rejected by Qatar.

Gaza hosted Palestine's first international airport, opened in 1998, until it was bombed by Israel in 2001.

The Palestinian land strip has been under siege since 2007, while Hamas militants have fought several wars with Israel.

Qatar has pumped millions into Gaza to prevent the complete collapse of the territory's economy.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since pushing out rival faction Fatah in a 2007 near civil war.

Fatah civil servants were then instructed not to work so Hamas hired around 40,000 additional staff.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008. The last war in 2014 killed more than 2,220 Palestinians, including 500 children.

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