The only power plant supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip was knocked out of commission by Israeli shelling, the deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory said Tuesday.
“Gaza’s sole power plant has stopped working due to Israeli shelling last night, which damaged the steam generator and later hit the fuel tanks which set them on fire,” Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told AFP.
An AFP reporter saw huge fires raging near the plant Tuesday morning, noting that fire department vehicles were still unable to reach the area.
The damage to the power plant exacerbated the heavy damage to infrastructure in Gaza already inflicted during the 22 days of an Israeli campaign aimed at stamping out terrorist rocket fire at Israeli towns and destroying attack tunnels dug under the border. Squads of gunmen emerging from the tunnels have killed several IDF soldiers in ambushes inside Israeli territory over the past three weeks.
Gaza also purchases electricity from Israel, but many of the supply lines have been badly damaged by the recent fighting, Sheikh Khalil said.
Earlier this month a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza damaged power lines in Israel that resulted in loss of power to 70,000 Palestinians in the coastal strip. Repairs to the lines were delayed due to the security situation, which prevented the Israeli electric company’s technicians from working in the area.
“Five out of 10 of the Israeli electricity lines into the Gaza Strip were also damaged because of Israeli shelling, and maintenance still cannot reach the areas and fix them,” Khalil said.