Middle East

Egypt helps ease Gaza oil crisis

Children wait with their containers at a petrol station in Khan Younis, 22 March 2012.
Image caption The fuel shortages force Gazans to form lengthy queues for the small amount of fuel available

Egypt has agreed to start supplying fuel to the Gaza Strip, to help ease a lengthy fuel crisis.

Cairo agreed to send diesel to be used at a power station, which shut down in mid-February.

This caused big reductions in Gaza's ambulance service, medical operations and taxi services, and power cuts of up to eighteen hours a day.

Officials in Gaza said enough fuel to run the power station for a day had arrived in nine trucks.

Israel is allowing the fuel supplies to go through the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

The crisis stems from a dispute between Egypt and the Hamas government in Gaza over whether Gaza can trade with Egypt openly, or only via Israel.

At the same time Egypt cracked down on fuel being smuggled through tunnels, leading to petrol pumps running dry.

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