Hamas PM heads to Egypt over electricity crisis

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Gaza’s Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya was due in Cairo on Monday to discuss the power crisis gripping the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave, his government said.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 20 Feb 2012, 7:16 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:22 PM

The crisis was sparked on February 14 when Gaza’s sole power plant was forced to close down after running out of fuel after a fall in supplies from Egypt.

The plant supplies around a third of Gaza’s electricity, but suffers frequent outages, leading to daily blackouts across the Hamas-run territory.

“We hope this visit will be successful and yield positive results regarding the power and fuel supplies,” Haniya’s political advisor Yussef Rizqa said in a government statement released late on Sunday.

Officials at the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority said at the weekend they had received assurances that Egypt would begin delivering diesel to Gaza, with a first load of 300,000 litres arriving on Monday afternoon.

Most of Gaza’s fuel comes through cross-border tunnels from Egypt.

But the UN humanitarian agency OCHA says the amount has dropped by half over the past three weeks, reportedly due to increased restrictions on the movement of fuel by Egyptian police.

International aid agency Oxfam on Saturday warned that the lack of fuel meant Gaza was facing “a total collapse of essential services,” and said only an end to Israel’s blockade of the territory would solve its electricity shortage.

Israel imposed the blockade in 2006 following the capture of one of its soldiers in June of that year. It was tightened a year later after Hamas took over Gaza, with Israel restricting amounts of fuel allowed

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