Israeli Merkava tanks take position at an army deployment along the Israeli border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on July 27, 2014. The Islamist Hamas movement belatedly accepted diplomatic calls for an extension of a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza shortly after Israel said it was resuming its devastating military assault.
Israeli Merkava tanks take position at an army deployment along the Israeli border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on July 27, 2014. The Islamist Hamas movement belatedly accepted diplomatic calls for an extension of a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza shortly after Israel said it was resuming its devastating military assault. AFP PHOTO - Gil Cohen-Magen

Federal Government to send $5 million in aid to Gaza Strip

THE Australian Government will provide $5 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to Gaza as fighting in the region intensifies.

More than 1000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since fighting broke out earlier this month when Israel launched an offensive aimed at ending Islamist militants' rocket fire out of Gaza.

Thirty-nine Israelis have died since the conflict started.

Residents across Gaza used a 12-hour humanitarian truce at the weekend to return to their homes, gather essential supplies and search for those trapped in the rubble.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the funds would be delivered through established development partners in Gaza.

She said the funds would provide emergency food, medical supplies, hygiene kits, and psycho-social support and enable agencies to restore education and health services.

"The government is deeply concerned about the continuing conflict between Israel and militant groups in Gaza as well as the growing number of casualties and the deteriorating humanitarian situation," she said.

"Large numbers of people have been displaced from their homes, buildings and essential services damaged and livelihoods jeopardised."

Ms Bishop said Australia strongly supported the efforts of world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban and US Secretary of State Kerry, to secure a permanent ceasefire.

She said a ceasefire must be the focus of all international diplomatic efforts.



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