Gaza flare-up worsens electricity crisis for Palestinians

Palestinians throw stones at Israeli security forces (unseen) during clashes in protest to Israel's military operation in Gaza. (REUTERS)
Updated 31 May 2018
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Gaza flare-up worsens electricity crisis for Palestinians

  • An already severe electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip has worsened due to the recent military flare-up
  • Gaza is now receiving some 85 megawatts instead of the 120 usually delivered by Israel

GAZA: An already severe electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip has worsened due to the recent military flare-up between Palestinian armed groups and Israel, officials in the enclave said Thursday.
The exchange of fire on Tuesday damaged part of the Israeli electricity lines that supply power to the Gaza Strip, said Mohammed Thabet, spokesman for the Gaza electricity distribution company.
Israel’s electricity company says a Palestinian rocket fired from the Gaza Strip damaged three lines servicing the south of the blockaded enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas.
The Gaza Strip has for years suffered from electricity shortages that have badly affected its economy and the daily life of its two million residents.
Public mains had been recently providing some four hours of electricity followed by cuts of between 12 to 16 hours.
Following Tuesday’s hostilities, electricity is now cut for between 20 and 30 hours at a time, depending on the location, Thabet said.
“We have been forced to reduce distribution,” he said.
Gaza is now receiving some 85 megawatts instead of the 120 usually delivered by Israel, he said. Some 500 megawatts per day is required to power the strip.
Calm returned to the Gaza Strip and nearby Israeli communities on Wednesday a day after the exchange of fire that stretched into the night in the worst military flare-up since a 2014 war.
It began with a barrage of mortar fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, resulting in a heavy Israeli response.
Israel said it targeted some 65 militant sites in the Gaza Strip. It also said around 100 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza either exploded in Israel or were intercepted by air defenses.
Three Israeli soldiers were wounded. No casualties were reported in Gaza.
Egypt was reportedly influential in calming the situation. Hamas said a cease-fire had been reached, but Israel denied it was part of any deal.


UAE minister: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

Updated 8 min 29 sec ago
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UAE minister: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

  • Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000
  • The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa

DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

The comments came after witnesses said eight villagers had been killed and 15 others wounded when Houthi militia shelled a village in the center of the country called Haglan Maris.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP, AP & Reuters)