In this Saturday Feb. 18, 2017 photo, balloons decorate the entrances of the new indoor shopping mall in the Gaza Strip during it's opening, in Gaza City. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
A previous version of this article reported that it was the first shopping mall in the Gaza Strip. The AP corrected the story to say it's not the first but a new mall in Gaza.
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In a welcome sign of normalcy, the first indoor shopping mall – complete with an international retail chain, three-story bookstore and bustling food court – has opened in the Gaza Strip.The owners have overcome conflict and an Israeli-Egyptian blockade to build the gleaming 1,800 square meter Capital mall. In the short term, the mall appears to be thriving.Today, nearly 80 percent of Gaza's roughly 2 million people live below the poverty line.The Capital mall spends $500 on diesel fuel for an industrial 400 kVA generator every 10 hours to keep the lights on. The mall is banking on Gaza's tiny middle class to stay in business.On a recent day, families passed by the glitzy stores at the Capital mall.Construction on the mall began in 2012 – two years before a devastating war with Israel – when movement in and out of Gaza was better.Haniya said his mall has been full most of the time since it opened.
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