Gaza’s only power plant shut over fuel shortage

Gaza's sole power plant in Nusairat. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2018

Gaza’s only power plant shut over fuel shortage

GAZA CITY: The sole electricity plant in the Gaza Strip stopped working on Thursday because of a lack of fuel, officials said, as concerns grew over worsening humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave.
The closure of the plant, which normally provides around a fifth of Gaza’s electricity, will exacerbate an already critical power shortage.
Gaza’s two million residents receive only around four hours of mains electricity a day.
Mohammed Thabet, spokesman for Gaza’s energy distribution company, said it had been informed by the energy authority the power station stopped functioning at midnight because of the lack of fuel.
Usually the plant provides around 20 megawatts per day using fuel imported from Egypt, but now the only energy is the roughly 120 megawatts of electricity imported from Israel.
“The Gaza Strip needs around 500 megawatts (per day). We have an energy deficit of 380 megawatts,” Thabet said.
The distribution company called in a statement for rapid moves to provide fuel to the plant again.
Last week, the UAE provided financing for fuel for generators at hospitals and other key facilities. Three hospitals and 16 medical centers had stopped offering key services in recent weeks because of the crippling fuel shortages.
The power station has temporarily shut down a number of times in recent years over energy shortages.
It was hit by Israel in previous wars with Hamas that runs the Palestinian territory.
Israel has maintained a blockade on the strip for a decade, saying it is necessary to isolate Hamas, and Egypt has also largely closed its border in recent years.
The internationally recognized Palestinian government, based in the West Bank, has also sought to squeeze rivals Hamas.


Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

Updated 58 min 52 sec ago

Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

  • Altan and the others deny the charges against them
  • On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing

ISTANBUL: Turkish police detained prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan late on Tuesday, a week after he was released from prison in his retrial on coup-related charges, Istanbul police said.

Before his release last Monday, the 69-year-old had been in jail since his arrest in 2016, two months after an attempted coup which Ankara says was orchestrated by the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The journalist’s case has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies. They are concerned by the scale of a post-coup crackdown against suspected Gulen supporters under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Altan smiled and waved as he was driven away by counter-terror squad police officers after being taken from his home in Istanbul, video and photos published by Turkish media showed.

He was taken to Istanbul police headquarters after a hospital check-up, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Altan, his brother and other journalists were previously sentenced to life in jail for aiding Gulen’s network. Last week he was convicted again in a retrial, but released from jail given the time served.

Altan and the others deny the charges against them.

On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing, Anadolu reported.

Under last week’s verdict, Altan was sentenced to 10 years and six months in jail. Turkey’s high court had overruled the previous life sentences against him in July, sending the file back for re-trial.

Erdogan’s government has jailed more than 77,000 people pending trial since the failed putsch. Widespread arrests are still routine in a crackdown critics say demonstrates growing autocracy in Turkey.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers deny any involvement in the coup. Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite the cleric.