Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and  Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal before a meeting in Doha
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal

Hamas has announced a $250m aid package to help reconstruction projects in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Yousef al-Mansi, Hamas's minister of housing and public works, welcomed the deal and said details would be finalised within days.

Under the plan 5,000 homes will be constructed and improvement works will be carried out on a further 55,000 properties, al-Mansi said.

The deal also covers some infrastructure projects.

Qatar recently brokered a deal between Hamas and Fatah to restore political unity in the Palestinian Territories.

Hamas has turned its back on former patron Bashar al-Assad in protest aginst his savage 11-month crackdown on the Syrian uprising. There has been speculation Hamas moved its headquarters out of the Syrian capital of Damascus to Qatar.

The cooling of relations with Syria is part of Hamas's general distancing from its Shia patrons, which includes Iran, while it gets closer to Sunni powers such as Egypt and the Gulf States.