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Dirco assists Gift of the Givers in Gaza

The group has had problems getting medical equipment to Gaza because of delays in processing paperwork.

FILE: A Palestinian woman pauses amid destroyed buildings in the northern district of Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip during a humanitarian truce on 26 July, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG -Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says its officials have been in touch with their counterparts in Egypt in a bid to ensure medical supplies belonging to the Gift of the Givers are allowed into Gaza.

The South African relief group left for Gaza last week.

After several delays in Egypt, the group finally managed to get a 10-member team through the Rafah Border Crossing and into Gaza City.

But the specialist surgeons and doctors have not yet been able to use a variety of medical equipment as well as an ambulance transported from Pretoria by a government cargo plane.

Spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said the relief group has had problems getting the medical equipment to Gaza because of delays processing the paperwork and other logistics.

Members of the organisation told Eyewitness News they will be putting in long hours to make up for lost time.

ISRAELI GOVT PROVIDES EVIDENCE OF ROCKET FIRE FROM SCHOOLS

The Israeli military has provided its most detailed assessment yet of the conduct and impact of the Gaza war, including photographs indicating that militants stored and fired rockets from schools and a breakdown of the toll inflicted on Hamas.

In a briefing at its headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Israel Defense Forces presented a minute picture of the structure and capability of Hamas and other militant groups operating in Gaza, an effort to explain the severity of the threat Israel faced and justify Israel's heavy tank shelling and air strikes during the 50-day conflict -tactics that drew international criticism.

Among the evidence laid out by a senior military officer were details of the ranges and number of rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, photographs showing how rocket launchers were hidden in graveyards and a school playground, and how tunnels were used to carry out and escape from the site of attacks.

One set of photographs showed a school by day, its central yard empty. By night, rockets looked to be stockpiled in the yard. At another school a canopy, where a hole had been torn for a rocket launching, was further frayed after a projectile was fired from underneath, he said.

"We're dealing with a carefully structured and in many cases well trained terrorist force," said the general staff officer, who spoke on condition that his name not be used.

"Hamas has at least 16,000 operatives organised into six brigades across the Gaza Strip, each with its own commander, while [Islamic Jihad] has a similar structure and a total of around 6,000 operatives."

The war, the longest Israel has fought since it withdrew from the narrow coastal enclave in 2005, left more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, dead, the Palestinian health ministry said. Israel said 67 of its soldiers and six civilians were killed.

After two failed attempts, an open-ended ceasefire was struck by Egyptian mediators on Aug. 26. Detailed talks on a longer-term peace are supposed to start in the coming weeks, although already there are doubts about their prospects.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REUTERS

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