Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Despite assurances from Egypt Gaza power plant is forced to close down again


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Gaza's only power plant has been forced to shut down for the second time in two weeks due to a fuel shortage, the energy authority in the Gaza Strip said Tuesday.

Energy officials appealed to Egypt to provide Gaza with a sufficient amount of fuel to allow regular operation of the plant, adding that the disruptions were inflicting a heavy toll on the 1.7 million Palestinian residents of the blockaded strip.

The power station had only re-started operations eight days ago, reactivating one of four generators when emergency fuel supplies arrived from Egypt. A crisis in fuel supplies shut the plant on Feb. 14, plunging Gaza into up to 18 hour blackouts per day. more

Egypt blocks attempt to smuggle diesel fuel into Gaza Strip


EL-ARISH (Ma’an) -- Egyptian security forces on Tuesday thwarted an attempt to smuggle large quantities of diesel fuel into the Gaza Strip via underground tunnels, Ma'an's correspondent said.

Egyptian military and police forces stopped four trucks containing more than 7,000 liters of diesel fuel bound for the Gaza Strip.

Four Egyptian smugglers were arrested and are being questioned.

Egypt wants to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, and has severely reduced supply through the tunnel network, prompting an energy crisis in the coastal enclave.

Egyptian and Gazan officials reached a deal last week which includes longer-term measures to increase the capacity of Gaza's sole power plant and link Gaza's electricity grid to Egyptian infrastructure.

On Sunday, as part of the first stage of the agreement, Egypt increased its power supply to the Gaza Strip from 17 to 22 megawatts. more