Posters depicting Qatar's former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (R) and Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (L) are seen on a building as a Palestinian man holding his son waves during the opening ceremony of Qatari-funded construction project "Hamad City", in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip January 16, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)
Qatar on Saturday provided more than 1,000 apartments to residents of the Gaza Strip whose homes were destroyed in the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza
Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza last summer alone killed over 2,200 people and left more than 12,000 others injured. More than 100,000 people were displaced.
About 20,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the most recent offensive, and most of the strip's infrastructure and buildings were destroyed, including schools and hospitals.
"Today, we are inaugurating the first phase of the Hamad residential city (project)," said Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi told reporters in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis.
A total of 1,060 apartments have been completed and the title deeds were being handed out to their new owners, he said at a ceremony at the apartment complex.
Emadi said that more than 1,2000 apartments are being built and would constitute the second phase of the project, with a third phase to follow.
Qatar has allocated a total of $407 million (373 million euros) for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, including homes, infrastructure and a hospital.
Emadi said the project was delayed for a year due to "restrictions on the entry of construction material" imposed by Israeli blockade since 2006, which maintains a blockade on the Palestinian enclave.
Palestinians and international organisations say the restrictions cause significant delays in rebuilding Gaza.
NGOs estimate that with the supply of materials and funding at present levels, Gaza home reconstruction could take decades.
A ten-year naval and land blockade has restricted the movements of people and goods from and to the Gaza strip, since the Islamist Hamas movement won parliamentary elections and became its de-facto ruler in 2006.