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Hamas plays down Egypt tensions, Gaza power squeezed

The government is not steering the people towards fighting Egypt or towards aggression against any state, Hamas PM Ismail Haniya claims

AFP , Thursday 5 Sep 2013
Views: 1333
Views: 1333

Gaza's Hamas prime minister on Thursday played down tensions between the Islamist movement and Egypt that have developed between the two sides followed the ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

At the same time, the Gaza energy authority warned that the enclave's sole power plant is in danger of shutting down within days because of a fuel shortage indirectly caused by those tensions.

Speaking in Gaza's parliament, Ismail Haniya referred to "attempts to draw the resistance (Hamas) into sideline battles away from the (real) enemy (Israel)."

"The government is not steering the people towards fighting Egypt or towards aggression against any state, regardless of the unprecedented pressure and circumstances the Palestinian people are under," he said.

Egypt's army, which ousted the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi in a July coup, has since destroyed many of the tunnels Brotherhood ally Hamas uses to bring crucial supplies into the blockaded Strip.

Egypt closed its Rafah border crossing with Gaza on August 19 after a deadly attack nearby that killed 24 policeman, and now opens the crossing for a few hours a day for "humanitarian" purposes only.

Hamas's energy authority warned Thursday that the Strip's sole power station faced being shut down because of a lack of fuel, which is smuggled through the tunnels.

"In light of the exceptional circumstances the Gaza Strip is living under, and the closure of crossings... the energy authority is suffering from an acute lack of fuel," a statement said.

"If the shortages continue at their current level, the power station faces closure within the next few days," it said, adding this could cause a "humanitarian disaster."

The authority said it had asked the Egyptian government to make an exception for the transfer of fuel resources across the border.

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