Hamas blames power crisis on Egypt in rare rift

By REUTERS
March 2, 2012 19:54

GAZA - Gaza's top political leader blamed Egypt on Friday for causing a power crisis that has triggered lengthy blackouts in the Palestinian enclave, laying bare tensions between his Islamist group Hamas and Cairo.

The outages started in mid February, leaving households with just six hours of electricity a day, provoking widespread criticism within the territory of Hamas, which governs Gaza.

Looking to deflect the anger, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told supporters that Egypt controlled the flow of fuel into Gaza and suggested the authorities in Cairo should have done more to help following the downfall of former president Hosni Mubarak.

"Is it reasonable that Gaza remains without electricity a year after the revolution in Egypt?" Haniyeh said in a weekly address, accusing Cairo of trying to force Gazans to accept their energy supplies via arch foe Israel.

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