Gaza's Only Power Plant Lights Up Again After Israel Allows Fuel In

Israel cut off Qatari-paid fuel when it closed the border crossing following three days of fire exchange.

The Gaza Strip's sole power plant started up again on Monday after Israel allowed quantities of Qatari-paid fuel into the enclave to ease a power crisis, Palestinian officials said.

Israel closed off the Kerem Shalom border crossing last week, allowing no more diesel fuel for the power plant to enter, following three days of fire exchange in the largest outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza in more than two years.

Gaza lacks much basic infrastructure and lives under an Egyptian-Israeli blockade meant to cut off arms flows but which also curbs imports of fuel and building supplies.

On Saturday, the plant, a main source of electricity for Gaza's 1.8 million people, stopped due to fuel shortages, a move that extended daily blackouts from eight hours a day to 12.

Raed Fattouh, the Palestinian Authority coordinator of supplies into Gaza Strip, told Reuters that Israel allowed in 110,000 liters of fuel on Sunday for the plant and was pumping an additional 500,000 liters on Monday.

"The plant was put back into operation," Gaza Energy Authority's Ahmed Abu Al-Amrain said.

A few months ago the power plant was switched off for 43 days due to a fuel shortage when neighboring Egypt closed off smuggling tunnels. Israel eventually allowed in fuel paid for by Qatar when a storm swept the region.

Qatar has now extended the financial aid by three months.

Electricity also comes directly to Gaza from Israel and Egypt.

The Gaza Strip is run by Islamist group Hamas, whose declared aim is to destroy Israel. The two sides have no direct dealings.

Gaza's only power station.
A truck delivering fuel enters the Gaza Strip.