The energy authorities in the Gaza Strip announced Tuesday that they shut down the coastal territory's sole power plant for the second time in two weeks due to a fuel shortage, despite a promise by Egypt to increase its fuel supply to Gaza, Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported.
Egypt has been cracking down on smugglers using tunnels underneath Gaza to import fuel, which has been a source of tax revenue for the Hamas government. On Tuesday, Ma'an reported that Egypt had halted four trucks containing more than 7,000 liters of diesel fuel bound for the Strip through this underground tunnel network. In addition, Gaza's refusal to allow Egyptian fuel to arrive via the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel has caused a further decline in the fuel available to the Strip.
Egypt agreed to provide Gaza's power plant with emergency supplies following a an energy crisis earlier this month which caused rolling blackouts in Gaza and sometimes only six hours of electricity a day to some areas, but the authorities in Gaza are waiting on a pending long-term agreement that would provide a route for delivering fuel from Egypt to the Strip.