Gaza's Last Power Plant Just Shut Down, Plunging the Strip Into Darkness

Gaza's last functioning turbine has been closed, leaving the strip without almost any power

File - In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 file photo, a Palestinian family warm themselves up with a fire outside their makeshift house during a power cut in a poor neighborhood in town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip is in the midst of an electricity shortage that has left residents with just a few hours of power a day, turning many aspects of everyday life in the Hamas-ruled territory upside down and raising concerns about a humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra, File)
Khalil Hamra/AP

The Gaza Strip's only operating power plant was turned off late Wednesday due to a severe shortage of fuel, leaving the coastal enclave in a complete blackout, local officials said.

Officials at the Hamas-run power corporation said they had turned off the last operating turbine at the plant in southern Gaza city.

The Gaza Strip, with more than two million people, has been suffering from an energy crisis since mid-April due to a dispute over taxes between the Islamist Hamas movement, which rules the enclave, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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When electricity was available in the Gaza Strip, July 12, 2017

Gaza has been under a tight Israeli blockade since Hamas' violent takeover of the coastal enclave a decade ago and residents have been subjected to persistent blackouts.

Since April, Gaza's power station has not been generating any megawatts, while Israel has reduced the amount of power it supplies to the Gaza Strip. Power lines built to supply electricity from Egypt have been damaged amid heavy fighting in the Sinai region.

Two weeks ago, Egypt shipped around 4 million liters of fuel to operate the power plant - but it was not enough to resolve the worsening crisis.