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International conference on Gaza to be held in Cairo in February

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An international conference on rebuilding the Gaza Strip after Israel's recent military assault will be held in Cairo at the end of February, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official said on Monday.
CAIRO, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - An international conference on rebuilding the Gaza Strip after Israel's recent military assault will be held in Cairo at the end of February, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official said on Monday.

Nihad Abdul Lateef, the aide to the foreign minister who is coordinating the conference, said its main goal was to begin the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip with broad international support. The conference participants will also discuss humanitarian aid issues for the Palestinian enclave.

"The conference, which will last one day, will be held at the end of February on the ministerial level," Lateef said.

Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip on December 27, targeting Hamas infrastructure in a bid to put an end to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli border towns.

The military operation left at least 1,284 Palestinians dead, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Up to 50,000 people have also been left homeless in the enclave of 1.5 million. Israel's casualties have been estimated at 13, including 10 military personnel.

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire at 2 a.m. local time (00:00 GMT) on January 18, saying it had achieved all its objectives. Several hours after Israel's announcement, Hamas also declared an immediate ceasefire, adding that it was giving Israel a week to withdraw its troops.

Israel completed its troop pullout from Gaza on January 14.

Hamas has run the Gaza Strip since June 2007, when it seized control of the enclave of 1.5 million after clashes with Fatah.

The Israeli attack on Gaza is estimated by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics to have caused nearly $2 billion worth of damage.

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