Gaza's only power plant 'shuts down for lack of fuel'

Gaza's only power plant 'shuts down for lack of fuel'
A picture taken on November 17, 2013 shows the silhouette of the Gaza Strip power plant in the background.

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories - The Gaza Strip's only power plant shut down Saturday due to a lack of fuel from Israel, which closed a goods crossing after militant rocket attacks, the energy authority said.

"The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by (Israel's) closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

On Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza and the Erez pedestrian crossing "until further security assessments." In response, the energy authority cut the plant's operation from only 12 hours a day to six until the fuel ran out.

The facility, which supplies some 30 per cent of Gaza's electricity needs, has been forced to shut down several times, most recently in December.

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