MIDDLE EAST

Qatar buying fuel for Gaza’s only power plant: UN official

A United Nations vehicle follows a fuel tanker as it arrives at the Gaza power plant, in the central Gaza Strip Oct. 9, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

A top United Nations official confirmed Tuesday that Qatar is buying fuel to restart the only power plant in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N.'s Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, said this will add a few more hours of electricity to Gaza's 2 million residents who experience daily blackouts of up to 16 hours.

He said discussions were underway to find the "most optimal way" to deliver the fuel through Israel.

A report by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar on Sunday said the U.N. had facilitated Qatar's payment of six months-worth of fuel to the power plant.

It also said the U.N. agreed to pay Gaza's civil servants' salaries for three months amid a dire financial crisis. The newspaper did not cite sources for its claim.

The territory's Hamas rulers have accused the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) of hindering the Qatari efforts.

Hamas wrested control of Gaza and ousted the PA in 2007, drawing an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has resulted in severe fuel shortages and worsening humanitarian conditions.

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