Egypt Offers Gaza Electricity in Exchange for 17 'Terror Suspects'

Gaza City tunnel

Egypt Offers Gaza Electricity in Exchange for 17 'Terror Suspects'

"The Israeli claims regarding discovering alleged tunnels underneath the UNRWA school are classic Israeli lies aiming to dehumanise the Palestinian refugees", senior Hamas leader and spokesman Izzat al-Rishq said.

"They [Hamas] receive support from Qatar and have received aid from other countries in the past, but they usually choose to put the funds towards building up infrastructure towards terrorism", Erdan said.

The power crisis in Gaza is "an internal Palestinian matter", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in a first comment since Israel chose to reduce its electricity supply to Gaza.

In addition to cutting electricity and medicine supplies, Abbas has also stopped paying civil servants in Gaza who worked for the PA before Hamas took control in 2007, after it won parliamentary elections the year before.

They have been receiving three to four hours of electricity per day, but Abbas's reported decision to slash payments has led Israel to reduce supplies.

But the reduction has also sparked fears of another upsurge in violence, with Israel and Hamas having fought three wars since 2008.

"Hamas delegation talked in Cairo about the Palestinians' agony and namely Gaza residents".

Gaza's health ministry spokesman Dr Ashraf al-Qidra warned of "dangerous consequences for the sick and public health" if electricity is further reduced.

"In February, a United Nations watchdog group released a report showing screenshots from the Facebook pages of 40 UNRWA school employees in Gaza and other parts of the Mideast that it said 'incite to jihadist terrorism and anti-Semitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler, '" the Times recounted.

The MP warned that the situation is taking a turn for the worse due to Israel's decision to curtail power supplies to the besieged coastal enclave.

Palestinian Authority spokesperson Tareq Rashmawi defended the move, saying Hamas had failed to reimburse the PA for electricity.

"It can not be that Hamas collects taxes from the residents of Gaza, and these taxes go to tunnels, to rockets, not to the development of Gaza, to the development of the electricity sector, to the water sector, and now it has to decide what it wants", Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.

The report hasn't yet been verified by Egypt or Gaza. With only a few hours of mains electricity per day, hospitals are forced to rely on generators for power, the fuel for which is now carefully rationed and in danger of running out entirely. "We want security, and our policy on this is clear and unwavering".

Israel, meanwhile, has started to build a subterranean barrier around the Gaza Strip to make it more hard for Islamist militants to use cross-border attack tunnels as they did in 2014, when the two sides fought a seven-week war in which more than 2000 Gazans and several dozen Israeli soldiers were killed.

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