GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – A Palestinian company cut off power to parts of the central Gaza Strip Friday after Israel closed a crossing through which fuel is brought into the Palestinian area.
Several neighborhoods of Gaza City were blanketed in darkness a few hours after the Gaza Generating Company, which supplies the strip with about 25 percent of its electricity, said it would turn off three of its four generators. “For two days we have not received fuel,” the chairman of the Gaza Generating Company, Rafik Malikha, told a press conference in Gaza City. “The Israeli side is preventing vehicles from approaching the crossing.”
The Israeli army spokesman said the crossing had been closed since Wednesday for security reasons he could not detail.
Israel has since Wednesday forbidden the company’s supply trucks from approaching the Nahal Oz crossing, Malikha said. The company’s fuel reserves, which are only enough to produce power for two days, have run out, he said. It was not immediately clear how many of the Gaza Strip’s 1.4 million people were affected by the cutoff. The company supplies power to Gaza City and other central areas of the coastal territory. The rest of the Gaza Strip receives electricity from the Israeli Electric Company and Egypt.
The electricity supply to the Gaza Strip is so inconsistent that most households are without power for about five hours a day.
Almost all supplies for the impoverished Gaza Strip, including food, fuel and raw materials, come from Israel and through crossings controlled by Israel. The passages are frequently closed by Israel, which cites attempts by Palestinian militants to attack them.
Israel closed all of the crossings after the Islamic Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, partially opening them a few days later. The United Nations has warned of a growth in poverty since Hamas’ wrested control of Gaza, with unemployment on the rise and humanitarian aide in high demand.