Gaza power plant shuts down again due to lack of fuel

Palestinians say closing of Kerem Shalom crossing caused fuel shortage; Israel says internal Palestinian conflict to blame.

Gaza power plant 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Gaza power plant 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Gaza's only power plant ground to a halt on Friday again, only days after being restarted following a seven-week shutdown, AFP quoted the Palestinian electricity company as saying.
"The plant stopped working on Friday morning due to a lack of fuel caused by Israel's closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," a company official was quoted as saying.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon decided to close the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Tuesday after a series of violent cross-border incidents that resulted in the death of a Defense Ministry contractor from Palestinian sniper fire.
Fuel scarcity will force the power plant to operate only six hours a day, as opposed to the usual 12 hours a day.
The plant was closed on November 1 after stocks of diesel ran out, and returned to activity on December 15 after Israel allowed for a delivery of fuel into the Strip, purchased from Israel by the Palestinian Authority using Qatari funds.
An Israeli security official speaking to AFP rejected claims that the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing was responsible for the lack of fuel in Gaza, saying the situation was a result of "an internal conflict between the PA and Hamas."
"The Palestinian Authority is refusing to supply fuel because Hamas has not paid for it" now that Qatari funds had run out, the official told AFP.