Gaza’s only power plant shut down over fuel shortage

May 11th, 2008 - 4:54 am ICT by admin  

Gaza/Tel Aviv, May 11 (DPA) Gaza Strip’s only power plant was shut down late Saturday because of a fuel shortage, cutting off electricity to an estimated 800,000 people, the plant’s director Mujahed Salama said. He said that Israel has not delivered industrial diesel fuel needed to operate the plant since Wednesday.

The capital Gaza as well as refugee camps in the south remained in the dark.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said it was not clear when deliveries would start up again. She said Israel had stopped deliveries because the border crossing at Nachal Oz normally used for oil transport was attacked again this week by Palestinian militants.

The power plant was shut down for two days in January due to a fuel shortage. The Gaza Strip also takes electricity from Israel and Egypt, which were apparently supplying power to Gaza’s remaining 700,000 residents.

Gaza has been suffering from a lack of fuel due to Israeli imposed sanctions on imports to the territory, as well as a strike by the enclave’s fuel importers, who are protesting the Israeli measures. The shortages have also interrupted food aid deliveries by the United Nations.

In other developments Saturday, the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza at Rafah was opened Saturday to allow several hundred stranded Palestinians to cross over.

Passage will be possible until Monday. The overture was decided after talks between Egyptian leaders and the radical Islamist Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for nearly a year.

The first people to be allowed passage Saturday were seriously ill patients headed to Egyptian hospitals for treatment.

The Rafah gate was closed in June 2007 after the takeover by Hamas. In mid January, Hamas militants punched holes into the wall, allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to stream to the shops in Egypt.

After a week, the wall was rebuilt.

Early Saturday, the Israeli air force launched two attacks on Hamas police stations, killing five Palestinians and injuring another five.

The Israeli army indicated the attacks were meant to retaliate for a Palestinian attack on the Israeli kibbutz Kfar Aza that killed one Israeli and injured another three.

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