GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Qatari government on Tuesday invited tenders for four construction projects, in the first stage of a $254 million project to rebuild the war-torn Gaza Strip.
Qatar's ambassador to Gaza Muhammad al-Imadi is heading a committee overseeing the work.
Consultants have been invited to submit designs for a city to be named after Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa al-Thani. The $30-million development will include 1,000 residential units in five-story apartment blocks, schools, stores, clinics, parks and entertainment facilities, the ambassador said in a statement.
Companies were also invited to bid for the repair of three major roads in the enclave. The 35-kilometer coastal highway al-Rashid Street will cost around $50 million to repair, and $18 million has been allocated to reconstruct the 10-kilometer al-Karama Street. more
Presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali said on Monday that Egypt has no intention of establishing a free-trade zone with the Gaza Strip.
"This was just an idea proposed by the media, and was never looked into or discussed officially," added Ali during a press conference held at the presidential palace.
On Thursday deputy head of Hamas Mostafa Abu-Marzouk had told Ahram Online that Egypt has not given up on the idea of establishing a free-trade zone with Gaza. Marzouk also added that it was an Egyptian idea in the first place.
The free-trade zone would offer an alternative to the informal trade through illegal tunnels between the two countries. The tunnels have been prospering since the borders were tightly sealed to all commercial traffic in 2006.
Following the militant attack that killed 16 Egyptian border guards by the Israel-Egypt border on 5 August, a crackdown was initiated by Egyptian authorities on the tunnels.
During the press conference Ali refused to comment on current demonstrations held by Palestinians to protest the crackdown on the tunnels, commenting only that: "We will not allow any violations on Egypt's sovereignty from whomever." more