Gaza blames Ramallah for power station shutdown

F170403HP24Housing Minister Yoav Galant speaks at a signing ceremony for an agreement to build thousands of new apartments in the ultra Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh outside Jerusalem

F170403HP24Housing Minister Yoav Galant speaks at a signing ceremony for an agreement to build thousands of new apartments in the ultra Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh outside Jerusalem

Two million Palestinians in the besieged territory now down to a few hours of electricity a day as tensions rise.

Metir said it was not clear when the Palestinian territory would receive more power.

The only functioning power plant in the Palestinian territory is out of action after running out of fuel.

The local energy authority said it had no option but to shut the plant down due to unpaid bills and taxes in a row between the Palestinian Authority government and the Islamic movement Hamas, which seized the enclave in 2007 from the Palestinian Authority; in control of the West Bank.

The Hamas-run energy authority in Gaza said in an emailed press statement that the turbines of the main and sole power station in southern Gaza had totally stopped after the amounts of fuel, donated by Qatar, ran out.

Metir said the power plant can not afford to pay the enormous fuel taxes imposed by the PA.

The militant was identified as Anas Abu Shawish, a 20-year-old from the al-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City, according to Maan Arabic news outlet.

Protests broke out in January over the power shortages, which the Gaza health ministry warned could have "dangerous consequences" for patients.

A similar crisis in December was resolved by tax-free donations from Qatar and Turkey. But now the PA is no longer willing to waive the fuel for Gaza.

For years, the Gaza Strip and its roughly two million inhabitants have groaned under a chronic lack of power.

As such, said the authority, electricity will only be available for six hours on and 12 hours off; it may even be as bad as six hours in every 24 hour period.

A Fatah-led delegation is expected to travel to Gaza later this month to discuss reunification efforts with Hamas.

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