Power-aid: Qatar picks up Gaza electricity bill

Power-aid: Qatar picks up Gaza electricity bill
Qatar agreed on Sunday to pay $12 million over three months to Gazan authorities after protests erupted in the blockaded strip on Friday. Hamas is also seeking Ankara's help.
2 min read
16 January, 2017
Crippling power-cuts have left Gazans with just four hours of electricity a day [Getty]

Qatar agreed on Sunday to cover the costs of electricity in Gaza for three months at a cost of $4 million per month, a senior Hamas official said on Sunday.

The deal was made following a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bi Hamad al-Thani, on Sunday afternoon at the Emir Diwan, the seat of the Qatari government in Doha, said Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau.

Later Mohamamad al-Emadi, Qatar's ambassador to the Palestinian territories, said he had phoned the acting Minister of Energy in Ramallah Zafer Melhem confirming the deal, which seeks to alleviate an electricity crisis in the blockaded Strip. 

Security officers from Hamas, which controls Gaza, fired in the air to disperse an angry crowd during protests on Friday after recent cuts in electricity saw residents receive just four hours of electricity a day, instead of the usual eight-hour cycle.

A small number of recent deaths blamed on cold weather in Gaza in recent days have been linked to the electricity crisis, the worst in the area in years.

A vital electricity plant powering the area was hit during fighting with Israel in 2014, however financial difficulties and inter-Palestinian tensions have also played a part in the current crisis. 

Haniyeh's announcement of a $12 million deal with Qatar comes only a day after Haniyeh said that Turkey had agreed to send large quantities of fuel to Gaza in an effort to bring the crippling electricity crisis to a close.

Translate: Gaza: Security services suppress the march of the Jabaliya camp against the electricity crisis [footage from 12 January].