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Qatari cash reaches Gaza in effort to ease tensions

© AFP | A Palestinian man shows his money after receiving his salary in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip November 9, 2018

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) - 

Palestinian civil servants formed long queues in Gaza on Friday to receive Qatari-funded salaries, as part of efforts to ease tensions in and around the impoverished territory, AFP journalists said.

A total of $90 million is to be distributed in six monthly instalments of $15 million, according to authorities, primarily to cover salaries of officials working for Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Palestinian enclave.

Some exited post offices, where the first instalment was being distributed, to show off hundred-dollar bills before the cameras.

The cash was driven into the Palestinian enclave through Israel late Thursday by Qatar's envoy to Gaza, Mohammad al-Emadi, according to a government source in Gaza.

While Israeli officials would not comment, the money seemed to be part of a deal that would see cash-strapped Hamas end months of often violent protests along the border in exchange for Israel easing its blockade of Gaza.

Qatar, which has no diplomatic relationship with Israel, is a longtime ally of Hamas, considered by the United States, European Union and Jewish state a terrorist organisation.

In an Israeli-approved deal, Qatar has started buying additional fuel for Gaza's sole power station, allowing planned outages to be reduced to their lowest level in recent years.

Egypt and the United Nations have been brokering indirect negotiations for a long-term truce with Israel, with which Hamas has fought three wars since 2008.

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© 2018 AFP