Israeli tank fire hit the fuel depot of the Gaza Strip’s only power plant on Tuesday, witnesses said, cutting electricity to Gaza City and many other parts of the Palestinian enclave of 1.8 million people.
A thick column of black smoke rose from the facility, which supplies the territory with two-thirds of its energy needs, and the fuel containers were in flames.
“The power plant is finished,” its director, Mohammed al-Sharif, told Reuters.
He said the local fire brigade was not equipped to extinguish the blaze.
An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment and said she was checking the report.
The plant had already been hit last week and was working at a reduced capacity of about 20 percent, allowing only a few hours of electricity a day for Gaza’s residents.
Besides the power plant, Gaza also purchases electricity from Israel, but many of the supply lines have been badly damaged by the recent Israeli attacks fighting, deputy director of the energy authority Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told AFP.
“Five out of 10 of the Israeli electricity lines into the Gaza Strip were also damaged because of Israeli shelling, and maintenance still cannot reach the areas and fix them,” he explained.