Gaza Strip fuel shortage forces power shutdown

February 15, 2012 - 1:15 PM
Mideast Israel Palestinians Fuel Shortage

Palestinian men stand next to a car in a closed gas station in Gaza City, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Palestinian energy officials said Wednesday dire fuel shortages have forced them to shut down the Gaza Strip's lone power plant, causing blackouts and damaging hospital services in the already impoverished territory. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian energy officials say fuel shortages have forced them to shutter the Gaza Strip's lone power plant, causing blackouts in the impoverished territory.

Gaza's energy authority has until recently relied on fuel smuggled from Egypt to circumvent an Israeli blockade. But shortages in Egypt have halted the smuggling.

Gaza's power plant director Walid Sayel said Wednesday he placed some blame for the crisis on infighting with the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Officials have called on the West Bank government to renew money transfers to the territory. This could buy fuel from the Egyptian government, sidestepping reliance on the black market.

Health officials say hospitals are running out of fuel for emergency generators.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian energy officials say fuel shortages have forced them to shut down the Gaza Strip's lone power plant, causing blackouts in the already impoverished territory.

Gaza's energy authority has until recently relied on fuel smuggled from Egypt to circumvent an Israeli blockade. But shortages in Egypt have halted the smuggling.

Gaza's power plant director Walid Saad Sayel said Wednesday he placed some blame for the crisis on infighting with the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Gaza relies on the West Bank to arrange the purchase of Israeli fuel, because Israel has no direct relations with the territory's militant Hamas government.

Health officials say hospitals are running out of fuel for emergency generators.