A Palestinian company supplying electricity to the central Gaza Strip on Friday evening cut off power, explaining that Israel had closed a crossing through which fuel is brought into the Palestinian area.
"For two days we have not received fuel," the chairman of the Gaza Generating Company, Rafik Malikha, told a press conference in Gaza City. "The Israeli side is preventing vehicles from approaching the crossing."
The Israeli army spokesman said the crossing had been closed since Wednesday for security reasons he could not detail.
The Gaza Generating Company supplies the Gaza Strip with about 25% of its electricity. The rest of the supply comes from Israel's Electric Company and Egypt.
Israel has since Wednesday forbidden the company's supply trucks from approaching the Nahal Oz crossing, Malikha said. The company's fuel reserves, which are only enough to produce power for two days, have run out, he said.
The company will shut off three of its four generators, Malikha said. It was not immediately clear how many of the Gaza Strip's 1.4 million people would be affected. The company supplies power to Gaza City and other central areas of the coastal territory.
Israeli security sources told Ynet that the supply of fuel from the Nahal Oz crossing was halted on Wednesday for security reasons, after the IDF received intelligence information requiring it to stop the entry of fuel into the Strip.
Israel: Problem to be solved soon
Since the transfer of fuel was stopped, the coordinator of the government's activities in the territories has been trying to find alternative, temporary solutions for the situation.
The sources noted, however, that 60% of Gaza's electricity originates in Israel, and some of it is supplied by Egypt. The sources said that "the Palestinians need about 250,000 liters of fuel a day. From Sunday till Wednesday, when the transfer of fuel was halted, 1.3 million liters of fuel were transferred into the Strip and should be enough for five days.
"Halting the entry of fuel interferes with the proper functioning of the Palestinian power station, but because the electricity is produced in Israel and due to the Egyptian aid, electricity can still reach a great part of the Strip.
"In any event, the problem related to the Nahal Oz crossing is expected to be solved soon, whether by reopening the crossing after receiving an approval from the IDF or finding an alternative way to transfer the fuels," the sources adde.
Meanwhile, the Fatah-led government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad accused Hamas of stealing fuel from the Palestinian electric company.
Almost all supplies for the impoverished Gaza Strip, including food, fuel and raw materials, come from Israel and through crossings controlled by Israel. The passages are frequently closed by Israel, which cites attempts by Palestinian militants to attack them.
Israel closed all of the crossings after the Islamic Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June,
partially opening them a few days later.
The United Nations has warned of a growth in poverty since Hamas' wrested control of Gaza, with unemployment on the rise and humanitarian aide in high demand.
Ali Waked contributed to the report