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Gaza's six hours of electricity schedule reinstated due to Israel closure
Gaza's six hours of electricity schedule reinstated due to Israel closure
AFP/AFP/File - A Palestinian man walks past a power station in Gaza City on November 2, 2013
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Gaza, Agencies - Gaza's lone power plant came to a halt on Friday due to lack of fuel, days after it returned 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 Karam Abu Salem crossing," said a company official.

According to the official, 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 November 1 as stocks of diesel ran out.

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

Israeli occupation closed morning the Karem Abu Salem crossing on December 25. Israeli occupation defence minister Moshe Ya’alon said that the decision is based on “security assessments”  in a wake of recent escalation in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli media reported.

Karam Abu Salem is the only commercial crossing in Gaza, through which goods, humanitarian aids and fuel supplies are partially entered.

Israeli NGO Gisha, which lobbies for freedom of movement for Palestinians, accused Israel of carrying out mass punishment of civilians in Gaza by closing the Kerem Shalom crossing.

"Israel can and must protect its citizens, but the timing of the closure and the statements accompanying it suggest that it is a punitive measure, primarily harming civilians and civilian infrastructure," said Gisha director Sari Bashi.

"Just as international law forbids targeting civilians, so it forbids punishing them for acts they did not commit."

ALRAY contributed.