Gaza Strip in total darkness
Gaza Strip's main power plant shut down on Sunday due to a fuel shortage caused by Israel's closure of the Hamas-run territory's borders in response to Palestinian rocket attacks. Kanaan Abeid, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy Authority in the Gaza Strip, said one of the plant's two turbines ceased operation in the morning and the second did so in the evening.
"There is no fuel coming in and we have no reserves," Abeid said, according to Reuters. Hamas officials shut down the plant and plunged Gaza City into total darkness, Abeid conveyed, according to the AP. TV crews and reporters were invited to witness the shutdown just before 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).
On Friday, Israel's Defence Ministry tightened its closure of the territory, closing all border crossings to even U.N. humanitarian supplies.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel had reduced the flow of petrol used in cars, as well as diesel, but not fuel oil and cooking gas. "The ball is in their court," said Mekel. "If they stop the rockets today, everything would go back to normal." According to him, the power plant's shutdown was unnecessary. "They have an interest in exaggerating," he said.
On his part, the Hamas-appointed Health Minister, Basim Naeem, warned that the territory's already crumbling health system was in danger of collapsing and that patients' lives were increasingly at risk due to the fuel shortage. In addition, local bakeries stopped operating because of the blockade, bakers said, because they had neither power nor flour.