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23 Jan, 2009 14:20

Journalists allowed back into Gaza

Israel has lifted its ban on the international media entering Gaza. The block was put in place in November, preventing reporters from going to the region during the three-week long offensive.

Journalists visiting Gaza will have to sign a document saying they won’t sue Israel should they be injured “during their presence in the area.”

Meanwhile, Israeli, Palestinian and international authorities are each trying to evaluate what happened in Gaza during the three weeks of fighting and bombardment.

Israel withdrew the last of its troops from Gaza on Wednesday.

Efforts are being stepped up to bring the population’s life back to normal.

The UN's humanitarian chief John Holmes has pledged to raise funds for emergency construction.

“What I saw was more shocking than I expected both in its extent and in its nature – for example the destruction of the industrial area in a very systematic way which has huge implications for the future economic development of Gaza,” Holmes said.

Hamas says it will offer financial aid to Gaza residents who lost their homes during the military action.

Locals have started clearing the tunnels leading to Egypt, which were used to bring in goods before the offensive.

The Israeli air force bombed the tunnels claiming they were used to smuggle weapons.

Hospitals in Gaza remain overcrowded and short of medicine.

A leading Russian surgeon and his team are in the region to help treat severely injured children.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military are investigating whether its forces properly used phosphorus bombs during the action.

The use of such weapon against civilians violates the Geneva Convention.