( dpa ) - Electricity to Gaza City and other Gaza Strip areas was cut after the supply from the main power station was halted by a fuel shortage, officials said Sunday.
Gaza City and the southern refugee camps of al-Bureij and Nuseirat were in in complete darkness.
Israel has tightened the closure it has imposed on Gaza since mid- June, after the Islamic Hamas movement took control of the strip. On Thursday, the Jewish state barred fuels and basic food products from entering the Gaza Strip, as a retaliatory measure against ongoing rocket attacks toward Israel by Gaza militants.
Gaza power station chief Rafiq Maleiha told reporters that after the territory's only generating station ran out of fuel, it had completely stopped supplying more than one third of the 1.5 million Palestinians in the strip.
" Israel had closed down the crossings and barred the entrance of fuels into the Gaza Strip since Thursday. Therefore, we had run out fuels, and the power station had stopped supplying electricity to the people," said Maleiha.
Two days after three militant groups seized Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit in June 2006, Israeli jets destroyed the station, located in southern Gaza City. Four months later, Egypt helped rebuild the power plant.
"We don't know what will happen next. There has to be a solution," said one Gaza resident.
"If there is no electricity, there will be no water coming up to upper floors in high buildings."
An Israeli Foreign Ministry statement Sunday night said that the supply of electricity to Gaza from the Israeli and the Egyptian power grids "has continued uninterrupted" and noted that the 141 megawatts of power supplied by the two grids represented about three-quarters of the territory's electricity needs.
The ministry said that while fuel supplies to Gaza had been reduced because of the rocket attacks, "the diversion of this fuel from domestic power generators to other uses is wholly a Hamas decision," taken, the statement charged, "for media and propaganda considerations."
The ministry also claimed that despite the blackout, "The fuel generating power to the Hamas rocket manufacturing industry continues to flow unabated."