Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah accused Hamas on Tuesday of staging the latest blackouts in the Gaza Strip in a bid to win sympathy and incite the Palestinian public against Israel and the PA. The officials said that contrary to Hamas's claim, there is no shortage of basic goods, medicine and fuel in the Gaza Strip, largely thanks to the many underground tunnels along the border with Egypt. This is not the first time that Palestinians have accused Hamas of staging Gaza blackouts under the pretext that Israel had cut off fuel supplies to the district's power grid. Earlier this year, Palestinian journalists in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post that scenes of Palestinian children and women holding lit candles in the dark had been staged by Hamas and some Arab satellite TV stations. "There's no shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip and the Electricity Company is continuing to function normally," said a PA official. "Our people in the Gaza Strip have told us that the blackouts are all staged as part of the Hamas propaganda." Another PA official noted that Hamas's lies reached their peak last January when its legislators held a meeting in a darkened hall of the Palestinian Legislative Council - while light could be seen coming in through the curtained windows. The official accused Al-Jazeera of serving as a platform for Hamas's propaganda machine by airing staged footage of children and women during candlelight protests in the streets of Gaza City. "There's enough fuel in the Gaza Strip," he said. "Even when Israel reduces the fuel supplies, Hamas continues to smuggle tens of thousands of liters through the underground tunnels." The Fatah-controlled Pal-Press Web site on Thursday quoted a senior official in the Gaza Electricity Company as saying that Hamas has been stealing fuel supplies intended for the power grid. The official, who asked not to be identified, also denied claims by Hamas and Al-Jazeera about power outages in large parts of the Gaza Strip. He noted that 70% of the Gaza Strip's electricity came from Israel and Egypt, while the remaining 30% were being supplied by the local company. "Hamas has seized more than 220,000 liters of fuel that was intended for generators belonging to our company," he revealed. "There's no shortage of fuel and as such there is no reason for a crisis." The official also disclosed that Hamas militiamen had been forcing the company to cut off power supplies to some areas in the Gaza Strip so as to create the impression that the outage was due to a lack of fuel caused by the ongoing closure of the border crossings.