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Gaza power plant back online

30 December 2013, 07:23

Gaza City - The Gaza Strip's only power plant returned to life after Israel resumed fuel deliveries on Sunday, a Palestinian official said, two days after a lack of supplies halted electricity production.

"The plant resumed functioning with the provision of fuel, which restarted with the reopening in the morning of the Kerem Shalom crossing," the official told AFP.

The power plant stopped working on Friday due to the closure of the border crossing where goods transit between Israel and the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli decision to close the crossing came after a Palestinian sniper shot dead an Israeli man working near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The plant, which supplies around 30% of Gaza's electricity needs, fell silent on 1 November as stocks of diesel ran out.

The power station returned to life on 15 December after receiving a delivery of fuel purchased from Israel by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority using funds donated by Qatar.

The PA helped facilitate the delivery via Israel, which the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza do not recognise.

An Israeli security official denied the closure of Kerem Shalom was responsible for the lack of fuel at the power plant, saying it was a result of a conflict between Hamas and the PA.

But Gisha, an Israeli non-governmental organisation that lobbies for freedom of movement for Palestinians, accused Israel of carrying out mass punishment of civilians in Gaza by closing the crossing.



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