Middle East

Power outage across Gaza as fuel runs out: Hamas

Israeli soldiers are seen near the border between Israel and Gaza, early Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Gaza officials say Israeli tank fire has killed a Palestinian militant. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

GAZA CITY: A shortage of fuel halted the production of electricity across the Gaza Strip on Friday, said the energy authority of the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Palestinian enclave.

"We have completely stopped the operation of (Gaza's sole) power plant this morning at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) because we don't have a single litre of fuel," Fathi el-Sheikh Khalil, the authority's deputy chairman, told AFP.

An AFP correspondent in the Gaza Strip said the electricity supply had been cut off across most of the territory on Friday morning.

Khalil blamed the power outage on Israel's destruction of tunnels used for bringing fuel to Gaza and accused the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of charging Hamas too much for its fuel.

"Less than 50 percent of the needs of the Gaza Strip are currently covered by electricity from Israel (and) we can no longer get Egyptian fuel due to the destruction of tunnels from Egypt," he said.

"We tried to get fuel from Israel via the Palestinian Authority, but it has imposed prohibitive taxes."

The Gaza plant supplies about a third of the territory's electricity needs.

"The plant will remain shut until fuel supplies resume from Egypt through the tunnels or the Rafah border crossing, or from Israel if the Palestinian Authority agrees not to impose the heavy taxes," said Khalil.

In September, the Gaza energy authority warned of an impending shortage of fuel and called on Egypt to resume deliveries to the strip.

Relations between Cairo and Hamas have deteriorated since the Egyptian army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

 

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