Hamas government on Tuesday accused Egypt of blocking a Qatari ship, loaded with fuel for the only power plant in the Gaza Strip, of delivering its shipment to the Palestinian enclave.
“Some Egyptian sides insist to prevent the Qatari fuel from coming to Gaza,” said Mohammed Awad, Hamas’ foreign minister. “We negotiate with Egyptian authorities to bring in the fuel to Gaza when the ship docks in Egypt.”
Last week, Hamas authorities said that Qatar would send 25 tons of diesel to Gaza’s power plant, which suffers frequent shut-downs.
Since last week, the West Bank-based Palestinian National Authority (PNA) started to send expensive Israeli fuel to Gaza as a temporary solution after Hamas paid 2 million Israeli Shekels ( about 534,000 U.S. dollars).
Hamas, which took over Gaza by force in 2007, used to buy Egyptian subsidized fuel from smugglers in northern Sinai and tax it when it arrives in Gaza. The process, disrupted by Egypt’s security crackdown, provided Hamas’ government with a steady source of income, according to Xinhua.