Palestinian men watch after firefighters put out a fire that broke out at the fuel tanks in the Gaza’s sole power station in the central Gaza Strip, January 15, 2015. ©AFP
The only power station in Gaza Strip has been forced to shut down due to fuel shortage as the Palestinian territory is suffering from nine years of siege by the Israeli regime, officials say.
Ahmed Abu Al-Amreen, an official in Gaza Energy Ministry, said on Tuesday that the power plant has been closed since Saturday night after it ran out of fuel.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said parts of the coastal sliver have been without power for 20 hours a day, compared to 12 hours previously.
Reports blame fuel shortage on the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority ‘s recent removal of fuel tax exemption, demanding that the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement pay taxes on fuel imports to the coastal strip.
Gaza energy authorities, however, say they cannot afford their tax bill, which adds up to some 10 million shekels (2.6 million dollars) a month.
The Gaza power station stopped working last July in similar circumstances. The facility was damaged by shelling more than once during Israel’s devastating 50-day aggression in 2014.
Smoke and fire rise from the explosion of an Israeli strike over Gaza City, July 29, 2014. ©AP
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Israel has also waged three wars on Gaza since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and over 11,100 others injured.