GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hundreds of fans have gathered at a sports hall in Gaza City which Qatar prepared for the Palestinian residents of the impoverished territory to watch the World Cup matches for free. The fans looked attentively at the large screen as the opener game between Qatar and Ecuador kicked off on Sunday. The event was a gesture by the Qatar Committee for Reconstruction of Gaza, an arm of the wealthy Arabian Peninsula state’s foreign affairs ministry. Through the committee, Qatar has funneled over $1 billion since 2013 for major rehabilitation projects, including residential complexes, hospitals, and roads, as well as for post-war reconstruction. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza when the militant Hamas group seized the territory in 2007.
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