Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Gaza power authority: No fuel from Egypt despite $2 million payment

The Palestinian energy authority in Gaza said on Wednesday it had paid Egypt $2 million towards fuel for its crippled power station, but had yet to receive anything in return.

Gaza is experiencing a major electricity crisis because of a shortage of fuel for its sole power plant.

The plant, which supplies nearly a third of Gaza's electricity, has shut down three times in the past month and most Palestinians are receiving only six hours of power a day.

The Palestinians have turned to Egypt for help, and recently agreed a deal which included a provision allowing them to immediately begin purchasing fuel from their Arab neighbour.

But the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority (PENRA) said it had yet to receive any fuel, despite having made a downpayment.

"$2 million was transferred to the Egyptian Petroleum Company as a downpayment for the fuel needed to operate the only power station in Gaza," PENRA said in a statement published on its website.

"So far, nothing has been received by the station, which has not been operating (fully) for weeks, increasing the suffering of the Palestinian people," it said. more

Child dies of wounds bringing death toll to 27 as Israel launches more airstrikes

Death toll rises to 27 after a 7-year-old child dies of wounds, more

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes bombed the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday, causing damage but no injuries, casting uncertainty over a truce deal agreed 24 hours earlier.

Israeli airstrikes hit an open area west of Gaza City, sparking a large fire that burned down a wood warehouse and damaged nearby homes, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Palestinian Civil Defense forces said firefighters spent two and a half hours putting out the blaze.

An Israeli army statement said the strike "targeted two terror activity sites ... in response to the rockets fired at Israel over the past day."

Eight rockets hit southern Gaza on Tuesday, injuring an Israeli and damaging cars, a military spokesman said. more