Gaza Baby Dies After Respirator Runs Out of Fuel, Becoming First Casualty of Energy Crisis

A shipment of 450,000 liters of gasoline and diesel fuel purchased by the Palestinian Authority wassent into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Friday, after Israel agreed to permit the transfer.

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A baby in the Gaza Strip has died after the generator powering his respirator ran out of fuel, the father of the child said on Sunday. The report, however, has now come into question after AP indicated that a local newspaper carried news of the baby's death on March 4.

Abdul-Rahim Helou claimed his baby, Mohammed, relied on a respirator to help him breathe. Because of 18-hour-day power blackouts, Helou says he had used a gas-powered generator to keep his baby alive.

Mohammed died overnight Friday.

Helou said Sunday that he and his wife did not realize how much fuel they needed to keep their new generator going and it ran out overnight.

A Gaza health official said the baby arrived at a Gaza City hospital dead, having choked on its own phlegm.

The power shortage has been caused by a cut-off of Egyptian fuel.

A shipment of 450,000 liters of gasoline and diesel fuel purchased by the Palestinian Authority wassent into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Friday, after Israel agreed to permit the transfer.

Over a year ago, Hamas ceased importing fuel from Israel.

The shipment is meant to provide temporary relief for the fuel shortage in the Gaza strip, which started after Egypt cut off all shipments of fuel to Gaza. Senior Hamas officials blamed the Egyptian intelligence services, claiming that they were behind cutting off fuel to Gaza, in order to force the Hamas government into an agreement with Fatah.

Over the past year, Hamas has been smuggling fuel into Gaza at reduced prices through underground tunnels. The shortage began last month as fuel supplies smuggled from Egypt began to dry up. The Palestinian Authority paid full price for the shipment to be delivered on Friday, in order to help ease the current fuel crisis, which has forced Gaza's 1.7 million to endure widespread blackouts.

Palestinians in Gaza stocking up on fuel. Credit: AP

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