Gaza flare-up worsens electricity crisis

Gaza flare-up worsens electricity crisis

GAZA CITY,.  An already severe electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip has worsened due to the recent military flare-up between Palestinian armed groups and Israel, officials in the enclave said today.

The exchange of fire on Tuesday damaged part of the Israeli electricity lines that supply power to the Gaza Strip, said Mohammed Thabet, spokesman for the Gaza electricity distribution company.

Israel’s electricity company says a Palestinian rocket fired from the Gaza Strip damaged three lines servicing the south of the blockaded enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas.

The Gaza Strip has for years suffered from electricity shortages that have badly affected its economy and the daily life of its two million residents.

Public mains had been recently providing some four hours of electricity followed by cuts of between 12 to 16 hours.

Following Tuesday’s hostilities, electricity is now cut for between 20 and 30 hours at a time, depending on the location, Thabet said.

“We have been forced to reduce distribution,” he said.

Gaza is now receiving some 85 megawatts instead of the 120 usually delivered by Israel, he said. Some 500 megawatts per day is required to power the strip.

Calm returned to the Gaza Strip and nearby Israeli communities yesterday a day after the exchange of fire that stretched into the night in the worst military flare-up since a 2014 war.

It began with a barrage of mortar fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, resulting in a heavy Israeli response.

Israel said it targeted some 65 militant sites in the Gaza Strip. It also said around 100 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza either exploded in Israel or were intercepted by air defences.

Three Israeli soldiers were wounded. No casualties were reported in Gaza.

Egypt was reportedly influential in calming the situation. Hamas said a ceasefire had been reached, but Israel denied it was part of any deal.

— AFP