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Fuel tankers arrive in Gaza

April 4, 2012 10:58 A.M. (Updated: April 8, 2012 1:30 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A delivery of fuel arrived in Gaza on Wednesday at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israeli border, a Palestinian official said.

Liaison officer Raed Fattouh said he expected around 400,000 liters of fuel to be delivered on Wednesday, adding that the terminal was equipped to receive double that amount.

The delivery follows a deal announced Tuesday between the Hamas-led government in Gaza and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to end the power crisis in the coastal enclave.

Gaza government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the power authority had transferred 2 million shekels ($537,000) to the PA to pay for the fuel, purchased from Israel.

PA spokesman Ghassan al-Khatib confirmed receipt of the payment and said the PA would arrange delivery of 415,000 liters of fuel across the Israeli border.

Al-Khatib said daily deliveries of fuel would continue as long as the Gaza power authority continued to send payment.

It is hoped the interim deal, which allows Hamas to buy fuel from Israel through PA intermediaries, will ease the power crisis which has plagued the Gaza Strip since February.

Residents of Gaza have suffered daily power cuts of up to 18 hours since Egypt unexpectedly cut off the enclave's fuel supply through cross-border tunnels in February.

Hamas blamed Egypt, Israel and the PA for the shortages, which shut down the sole power plant in Gaza City four times.

Hamas was initially reluctant to purchase fuel from Israel, citing concerns over allowing Israel control over Gaza's power supply.

Palestinian officials met in Cairo last week and announced Thursday that Egypt will supply gas to Gaza via the Rafah crossing.The deal will require a network of pipes to be laid down, and the power plant will need to be converted to run on gas.
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