Gaza's Only Power Station Shuts Down Due to Lack of Fuel

Israel's Defense Ministry ordered closing of the Kerem Shalom crossing following a rocket attack on Israel's south that began Wednesday.

The Gaza Strip's only power plant shut down Saturday after Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, cutting off the supply of fuel to the strip.

The power plant is one of the main sources of electricity for Gaza's 1.8 million people and without it, daily blackouts of around 12 hours are expected. Electricity is also received directly from Israel and Egypt.

"The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by [Israel's] closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," Fathi Sheikh Khalil, deputy chief of Gaza's energy authority, was quoted as saying in a report by AFP.

Israel's Defense Ministry ordered the closing of the crossing Friday following a rocket attack on Israel's south that began Wednesday when Islamic Jihad launched 70 rockets at Israel throughout the day. Israel responded with air strikes on various targets in the strip.

Power blackouts that last several hours at a time are common in the Gaza Strip because of disputes between Israeli and Gazan energy authorities, and due to the recurrent closing of border crossings.

Nine rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel on Thursday despite an announcement of a cease-fire by the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad earlier in the day. The Israeli Defense Forces denied a truce was reached.

There were no reports of any Gaza rockets or Israeli strikes on Saturday.