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John Kerry: U.S. will provide Gaza $212 million in reconstruction assistance

United States Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $212 million in U.S. aid to Gaza at a one-day donors conference on Saturday.

Gazans "need our help desperately — not tomorrow, not next week, but they need it now," Kerry said in a statement reported by The Associated Press.

The one-day meeting in Cairo was intended to raise billions of dollars to help Gaza rebuild following this summer's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas estimated $4 billion would be needed to fund reconstruction of the coastal strip, and he promised Western donors that their money would funnel through the Palestinian Authority, thereby avoiding Hamas.

"The (Palestinian) government will carry out the reconstruction plan with full responsibility and transparency in coordination with the U.N., the donors, international financial institutions, civil society, and the private sector," Abbas said.

The latest conflict between Israel and Hamas left more than 100,000 Palestinians homeless. More than 2,000 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians, were killed in the conflict, and another 11,000 were wounded, AP reports.