Convoy of engineers and building equipment reaches Gaza where recent Israeli attacks caused heavy damage that officials estimate will cost $150 million to fix.

A man carrying a boy watches as building equipment, sent by Egypt for Palestinians, arrive in the southern Gaza on June 4, 2021.
A man carrying a boy watches as building equipment, sent by Egypt for Palestinians, arrive in the southern Gaza on June 4, 2021. (Reuters)

Egypt has sent an aid convoy to neighbouring besieged Gaza with diggers, trucks and cranes to "prepare the ground for reconstruction" of the bomb-battered Palestinian enclave, the government said.

"Following the directives of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, engineers and technical teams crossed the Rafah border point," read a statement from the government on Friday.

Egypt's heavily secured Rafah crossing is the Gaza's only passage to the outside world not controlled by Israel.

Sisi has pledged $500 million to help reconstruction efforts in densely populated Gaza, home to some two million people, and which was pummelled by Israeli air strikes last month, in which some 250 were killed and hundreds wounded. 

Palestinians lined the street on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing to welcome the convoy as it rumbled into the small coastal enclave. 

A Palestinian border official said 50 vehicles had crossed.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem reiterated its appreciation of Egyptian contributions to the rebuilding efforts.

Gaza's Housing Ministry said 1,500 housing units were destroyed during the war, another 1,500 housing units had been damaged beyond repair and 17,000 suffered partial damage. A ministry official put the cost of rebuilding at $150 million.

READ MORE: Egypt's intelligence chief, Hamas discuss ways to bolster Gaza truce

Egypt's role in truce

Egypt played a pivotal role in negotiating the May 21 ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, that brought an end to 11 days of Israeli attacks.

Photographs released by Egypt showed dozens of construction vehicles emblazoned with the Egyptian flag.

They will be used to "clear the rubble" of debris left after the strikes to "prepare the ground for reconstruction," the statement added.

Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 254 Palestinians, health officials said.

12 lives in Israel were also lost, medics said.

READ MORE: Israel, Egypt discuss Gaza ceasefire, rebuilding plans

Israel targets West Bank protests

Meanwhile, Israeli forces fired live bullets and rubber coated bullets at Palestinian protesters on a rural hillside outside the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, a Red Crescent statement said on Friday.

According to the Red Crescent, 10 Palestinians were wounded in Friday's clashes. Five were transported to hospital. 

Among those treated was a "serious injury to a young man in the neck," the statement said. 

READ MORE: Post-ceasefire Israeli raids on Palestinians are a revenge campaign

Source: TRTWorld and agencies