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DUBAI: The UAE said Friday it had launched a major relief operation in the Gaza Strip’s bombed out second city of Khan Yunis, where it plans to rehabilitate a key hospital.

In a statement carried by the official WAM news agency, the UAE said it was the first foreign government to deliver aid to the city whose residents have begun to return after Israeli troops pulled back in early April ending months of heavy fighting.

“A team of volunteers headed to Khan Yunis on a wide-scale field relief tour, during which they provided the necessary support to Palestinian families with the support of the UAE,” WAM said.

“The United Arab Emirates was the first country to reach the city of Khan Yunis… to deliver thousands of food parcels, basic supplies, food, and bread,” it added.

Israel announces ‘temporary’ opening of aid routes into Gaza

Thousands of displaced residents have been trudging home through the apocalyptic landscape of the devastated city since the Israeli army pulled back.

“The UAE is seeking to rehabilitate the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis city in the coming period, so that it can return to work,” WAM said.

It said that the hospital’s “departments, equipment, and medical staff stopped working” due to the fighting.

The Gaza war was sparked by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 34,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children. according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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