Hamas reaches agreement with Islamic bank to end Gaza power crisis

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reached a comprehensive agreement with the Islamic Development Bank in Cairo to solve the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, said Hamas spokesperson Taher al-Nounou in a statement Thursday.

The agreement includes three main stages, beginning by contracting Egyptian companies to pump fuel to power plants in Gaza, and increasing the voltage of electricity transmitted to Gaza from 17 to 22 megawatts during the next few hours, said Nounou.

The second phase includes increasing the capacity of the Sheikh Zuwayed power station in Egypt by 40 megawatts, which will be funded by the Islamic Development Bank, according to the agreement. It also includes the reconstruction of the fourth transformer of the Gaza power plant, Nounou added.

He said the third phase consists of two parts. The first will complete the construction of power lines with Egypt, and the second will provide the power station with natural gas instead of diesel fuel.

The Islamic Development Bank has allocated US$32.5 million to electrical connections between Gaza and Egypt.

Nounou said that the bank would create an account to which Islamic associations and institutions can donate money that will be allocated to purchasing fuel from the Egyptian companies for the Gaza Strip.

The only power plant in the Gaza Strip, which supplies 35 percent of energy needs, shut down on 13 February due to a lack of fuel, causing a severe energy crisis.

The government in Gaza stopped importing diesel fuel from Israel through the Palestinian Authority nearly one month ago, and smugglers stopped bringing fuel through tunnels from the Sinai Peninsula. The smuggled fuel is less expensive than the fuel imported from Israel.


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