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Gaza Strip population reaches 2 million with birth of baby Waleed

Gaza Strip population reaches 2 million with birth of baby Waleed

GAZA CITY: The two millionth person has been born in Gaza, with the birth of a baby boy named Waleed officially recognised as reaching the milestone in the densely populated Palestinian territory.

“There are now more than two million residents in the Gaza Strip after the baby Waleed Shaath was born last night in Rafah in southern Gaza,” interior ministry spokesman Iyad Bezm told AFP on Wednesday.

The ministry said the population of the Gaza Strip was now 50.66 percent male and 49.34 percent female. The 2,000,001st person, a girl named Lana Ayad, was born shortly afterwards.

Gaza, a tiny enclave squeezed between Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea and just 12 kilometres across at its widest point, has one of the highest population densities in the world, according to the United Nations.

The territory could be “unliveable” by 2020, the UN said last year, due in large part to “high population density and overcrowding.”

Socio-economic conditions in Gaza today are currently “at their lowest point since 1967,” when Israel seized the territory from Egypt in the Six-Day War, the report said.

Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but has maintained a blockade on the territory run by Islamist movement Hamas for a decade, while Egypt has also closed its border in recent years.

Israel argues the blockade is necessary to prevent the entry of material that could be used for military purposes, though UN officials have called for it to be lifted.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.

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