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    Israel hampers school construction in Gaza - UN agency

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    The Israeli authorities have refused to allow materials intended for the construction of four new schools in the Gaza Strip into the occupied enclave.

    The Israeli authorities have refused to allow materials intended for the construction of four new schools in the Gaza Strip into the occupied enclave, a spokesman for the United Nations' mission in Gaza said.

    "The Israeli authorities are hampering the construction of schools by UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) in the Gaza Strip by refusing to allow necessary construction materials into the enclave," Adnan Abu Hasna said on Saturday, adding that the reasons cited by the Israelis were "unacceptable."

    Local media reports quoted Israeli sources as saying that the Israeli Defense Ministry had refused to allow construction materials into Gaza as UNRWA was allegedly planning to build its schools near training bases used by Hamas militants.

    Abu Hasna said that the locations for the schools had been chosen in accordance with the number of refugees living in the areas and based on local residents' requests.

    Some of the schools UNRWA wants to build in Gaza are planned to be located on the land that hosted the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority's Preventive Security Force before Hamas took control of the enclave in September 2007. During an Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008, the building was completely destroyed.

    Some 40,000 Palestinian children could not go to school this year over a lack of educational facilities in Gaza, Abu Hasna said, adding UNRWA would continue urging Israel to allow construction materials into the enclave.

    GAZA, October 24 (RIA Novosti)

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