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Gaza may ‘fall into darkness’ without fuel transfer

Feb. 9, 2012 10:50 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 11, 2012 9:03 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Gaza Energy Authority announced on Thursday that if fuel doesn't enter the coastal enclave within 72 hours the Strip will face a severe electricity crisis.

“In less than 72 hours if we don’t receive fuel, Gaza will fall into darkness and disability in all aspects of life,” Kanan Obeid, president of the Energy Authority, said.

The Hamas-run authority has called on Arab and Islamic countries to intervene to prevent a crisis.

The increasingly unstable situation in the Sinai, where much of Gaza's fuel originates, is suspected of causing the shortages. On Thursday, 17 Egyptian security officers were kidnapped amid clashes.

In 2007, the Israeli and Egyptian closure of Gaza severely restricted fuel supply. Fuel was first smuggled through tunnels from Egypt, then used in electricity generation after a local engineer developed a refining process. The engineer was later abducted by Israeli intelligence agents during a trip to the Ukraine.

Gaza's energy sector is crippled by a ban on importing materials for locally implemented construction, leaving power stations unable to function. It suffered damaged in Israel's 2008 attack.
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