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Lack of fuel grounds Gaza's sole power plant

Dec. 27, 2013 11:04 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 28, 2013 2:39 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Lack of fuel from Israel brought Gaza's lone power plant to a halt on Friday, days after it was fired back to life following a seven-week shutdown, the electricity company said.

"The plant stopped working on Friday morning due to a lack of fuel caused by Israel's closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," said a company official.

Israel closed the crossing to the besieged Palestinian territory on Tuesday following a series of violent cross-border incidents earlier in the week.

The official said the closure of the power station means that electricity supplies to Gaza would be limited to six hours a day as opposed to the usual 12 hours a day.

The plant, which supplies some 30 percent of Gaza's electricity needs, had previously fallen silent on Nov. 1 as stocks of diesel ran out.

The power station returned to life on Dec. 15 after receiving a delivery of fuel purchased from Israel by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority using funds donated by Qatar.

The PA helped facilitate the delivery via Israel.

The Kerem Shalom crossing was closed on Tuesday following a series of cross-border exchanges between Israel and Gaza militants after the fatal shooting of an Israeli Civil Defense employee engaged in maintenance work on the northern Israel-Gaza border fence by a Palestinian sniper.

Israel responded by launching air strikes against Gaza, killing a 3-year-old girl.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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