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Power Plant in Gaza Shut Down After Israeli Attacks

RIA Novosti

13:39 29/07/2014

MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - The only power plant in the Gaza Strip has been shut down after Israeli attacks set several fuel reservoirs on fire, a local energy company representative told RIA Novosti.

"The plant has been shut down completely. Service staff are still there. We cannot get them out because of the fights. We will ask Red Cross for help," he said.

It will take three days to get the plant back online, while the fuel is being destroyed by the fire.

Hospitals and other essential services, including water pumps and treatment facilities, depend on the power plant.

The plant accounts for about 20 percent of the power demand of the 1.7 million people who live in the region. The rest comes from Israel and Egypt, who reduced their supplies to the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli military operation three weeks ago.

Since the start of the operation the plant was generating about 50 megawatts (MW) a day. The Gaza Strip now receives the same amount from Israel and 20 to 24 MW from Egypt. According to the source, the region needs 240 to 250 MW to return to its former operational activity of supplying power for eight hours with a subsequent eight-hour break.

There are problems with both power generation and distribution because of damaged cables and destroyed substations in Gaza's border areas.

Since July 7, Israel has been carrying out a military operation in the Gaza Strip against the Hamas movement. On July 17, after 10 days of air and naval attacks, Israel switched to a ground assault aimed largely at destroying the underground tunnels used by militants to transport weapons and carry out attacks.

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