Foreign ministers from around the world are to gather in Cairo on 2 March for an international conference on reconstruction in the Gaza Strip following the 22-day Israeli offensive against the ruling Hamas party, which left around 1,300 Palestinians and 11 Israelis dead and a further 5,000 Palestinians wounded. The ministers will examine funding options for reconstruction, which is estimated to cost US$2 billion, as well as making provisions for urgent humanitarian aid to the civilian population. The meeting is being organised by the Egyptian foreign ministry in conjunction with the Palestinian National Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.
Egypt played a central role in seeking an end to the Gaza conflict, which began on 27 December when the Israeli defence forces launched military operations to destroy Hamas strongholds and prevent arms smuggling into the Strip via Egypt.
A fragile truce has been in place between the sides since 18 January.