Israel accuses Hamas of fabricating fuel crisis in Gaza Strip

Israel Materials 24 April 2008 14:06 (UTC +04:00)

Israel Thursday accused the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip of causing a "fabricated crisis" by refusing to collect and distribute one million litres of fuel delivered to the salient, reported the dpa.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday that "there is currently no fuel available in the Gaza Strip on the open markets" and as a result the organization would be forced to halt food assistance to 650,000 refugees in the enclave.

But Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the million litres of fuel, which he said was enough for humanitarian needs, that Israel transferred to the Gaza Strip three weeks ago is still waiting to be collected on the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz fuel crossing terminal.

"Hamas can take the fuel but doesn't," he charged, accusing the Islamist organization of deliberately wanting to claim there is a crisis in the Strip.

Residents of the Strip said Hamas officials have taken fuel for their own purposes and given it to high-ranking officials, governmental employees and its own students, but has not distributed the remainder to the population at large.