Israel withholds Gaza fuel supply despite shortage

JERUSALEM, Nov. 10 – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Monday said that fuel shipments to the Gaza Strip remain on hold despite a looming power breakoff across the Hamas-controlled area. Following consultations with security officials, Barak decided to keep the red light on, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported.

The no-go decision came after at least three Qassam rockets launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel, causing no casualties or damage, said the report.

It added that Barak is scheduled to discuss the reopening of the crossings and resuming of fuel shipments on Monday evening.

On Monday, Palestinian officials warned that the only power station in Gaza will have to be shut down later in the day if its fuel tanks are not replenished.

Israel sealed off the border crossings and cut off the fuel supply to the Palestinian enclave last week after Gazan militants fired tens of rockets into southern Israel in response to an Israeli military operation in Gaza that killed six Hamas fighters.

The latest Israeli operation in the strip was the first since an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Gazan militant groups took effect on June 19, which requires Israel to loosen its blockade on Gaza and Palestinian militants to halt attacks against Israel.

Both sides had generally honored the truce before the recent flare-up, and Israeli officials have voiced willingness to extend the ceasefire after its initial six-month phase which expires next month.

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