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Gaza’s sole power plant shuts down due to Israeli fuel ban

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A view shows Gaza’s only operating power plant after it was shutdown, in the central Gaza Strip, on August 18, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

The sole power plant in the besieged Gaza Strip has shut down a few days after Israel suspended fuel shipments to the impoverished Palestinian enclave, Gaza’s Energy Authority says.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, the authority said that the power plant had shut down completely earlier in the day.

Just a day earlier, the authority had warned that the plant would stop operating and Gaza could plunge into darkness if no fuel was imported through Israeli-controlled crossings.

On Wednesday, the Tel Aviv regime banned fuel imports into the blockaded sliver, accusing Gazans of sending incendiary balloons to the southern parts of the Israeli-occupied territories to cause bushfires there.  

“The power feed may now decline to only four hours (per day),” said Mohammad Thabet, an official at Gaza’s main power distribution company.

The Gaza Strip, home to around two million people, had already been receiving roughly six hours of electricity amid the summer heat.

The majority of houses and businesses in the enclave relied on small fuel generators to make up for the power cuts, increasing the financial pressure on the mostly poor Gazans, who have been under a crippling Israeli-imposed siege for the past 12 years.

The power station had temporarily shut down a number of times in recent years over energy shortages. It was also hit by Israel in previous wars on Gaza.

The Israeli regime also refuses to allow desperately-needed spare parts to maintain the power lines in the coastal sliver.

The closure of the sole working power plant would now cause disruptions at vital facilities, including hospitals.

To further pressure Gaza, the Tel Aviv regime entirely closed its offshore fishing zone on the weekend, following a night of Israeli land and aerial attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The closure is severely affecting the livelihood of some 4,000 fishermen and at least 1,500 more people involved in the fishing industry.

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