Hamas police offer free rides to Gazans
The ruling Hamas party started using police cars on Sunday to ferry Palestinians around the Gaza Strip because of severe fuel shortages, the AP reported.
Orange stickers reading, "We are ready to drive you for free," were affixed to blue units of the Hamas-run police force.
Israel has restricted fuel supplies to Gaza in an attempt to pressure Palestinian militants to halt their rocket barrages at nearby Israeli communities.
Although Hamas complains bitterly about fuel shortages, the militant group is widely believed that it has hoarded supplies for its own use - especially now that it is offering its vehicles to ferry people for free.
Many residents, hit by lack of other transport, were just grateful for the service.
Suzan Salman, a 48, used one of the police cars to take her to a downtown hospital, where her daughter had just given birth. "It's good that we have somebody who cares about us," the grandmother said.
"We are here to serve our people," said Mohammed Hamza, a 25-year-old Hamas policeman.
Transport has come to a near halt in Gaza since Israel reduced supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel.
For the past month, most Gaza residents have walked, cycled or adapted their cars to run on bottled cooking gas or vegetable oil in order to get around.