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Israel ‘to allow’ Qatari payment to Gaza as Hamas protests delays

Israel on Thursday agreed to allow the transfer of $15 million in Qatari aid to the Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip, AP reported, citing an official. However, Hamas said it was rejecting the much-needed cash to protest Israeli delays on the delivery. The money is the third in a series of payments provided by Qatar to help ease the grim economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza. The cash transfers, delivered through an Israeli crossing, have been controversial in Israel. Critics there accuse the government of rewarding Hamas violence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked the latest transfer on Tuesday after a Palestinian sniper shot an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border, hitting him in the helmet and lightly wounding him. Hamas uses the money to pay thousands of civil servants who have not received full salaries in several years.