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Gaza reconstruction to cost up to $40bn; unexploded ordnance poses challenge

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The United Nations has stated that the reconstruction of Gaza after the war will require an international effort unseen since World War II, estimating the cost to be between $30bn and $40bn. A significant challenge in the reconstruction process is the presence of unexploded ordnance in the debris, which triggers more than ten explosions every week. Despite weeks of stalled negotiations, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has remained optimistic about a possible truce and hostage release deal for Gaza and has stated that Hamas is studying the latest proposal with a positive spirit. Hamas officials had previously given the proposal a generally negative reception, and senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told AFP late Wednesday that the movement’s position on the proposal was negative for the time being. However, Hamas has come under intense pressure from mediators to accept the latest offer. Following a meeting with Blinken, Israel’s opposition leader, Yair Lapid, insisted that Netanyahu “doesn’t have any political excuse not to move to a deal for the release of the hostages”.

Regardless of whether a truce is reached, Netanyahu has vowed to send Israeli ground troops into Rafah, despite US opposition to any operation that fails to provide protection for the 1.5 million civilians sheltering in Gaza’s southernmost city. Witnesses and an AFP correspondent reported air strikes on Khan Younis Thursday and shelling in the Rafah area while militants and Israeli troops battled in Gaza City to the north.

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