Coca-Cola to open factory in Gaza Strip, creating jobs for war-battered territory

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JERUSALEM — The war-battered Gaza Strip is getting a Coca-Cola factory.

The Israeli military said it allowed nine trucks into the territory Monday carrying assembly line machines for the factory.

Imad Hindi, a director of the Palestinian company licensed to produce the fizzy drink, said the factory would create 300 jobs in the impoverished territory, where the unemployment rate is at least 40 percent.

Hindi said production will begin at the end of 2015. He said the factory is costing $20 million to build.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

International donors have so far failed to deliver billions of dollars in aid money that was promised to rebuild the war-battered Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said Monday, saying the rift between rival Palestinian factions is deterring foreign governments from sending aid.

In the wake of a 50-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants over the summer, international donors promised $2.7 billion to help rebuild Gaza at a conference in Cairo in October. But Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa said "not even one penny" has been received from major donors such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

"Frankly speaking, what is happening now is not encouraging," Mustafa said. He said just a trickle of money has been received, but refused to elaborate.

"All the parties still have fears about the situation, whether the political situation or the reconciliation or the border crossings," he said.

Rival Palestinian groups Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Western-backed Fatah, which governs the West Bank, formed a unity government earlier this year. But the government is still not functioning, and the sides have argued over how to carry out reconstruction, including who will control crossings with Israel from where building materials will pass.

This summer's war devastated parts of Gaza, destroying thousands of buildings and leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the fighting. In Israel, 66 soldiers and seven civilians were killed.

Also Monday, the Israel military said a Palestinian man was arrested after a foiled attack on a soldier in the West Bank. The army says other soldiers intervened to stop the unidentified Palestinian from stabbing his intended victim in the town of Tulkarem.

The attack came at a time of heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Over the last two months, 11 people have been killed in five separate Palestinian attacks — mostly in Jerusalem, but also in the West Bank and Tel Aviv. Five of the Palestinian assailants were killed by Israeli security forces.

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