Egyptian authorities and Hamas officials reached an agreement on Thursday to end the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said a deal had been reached after "intensive negotiations" between Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Egyptian officials, and the Islamic Development Bank.
The deal included three stages, the Hamas official said. The first stipulates that Egyptian companies pump fuel directly to Gaza under the terms of contracts signed with firms.
The second agreement will see the Islamic Development Bank finance a project to increase the capacity of Gaza’s sole power-plant by 40 megawatts.
The third part of the agreement will see the Gazan electricity grid connected to Egypt’s, as well as converting the coastal enclave’s sole power plant from diesel to gas, a statement said.
The agreement comes as the ICRC supplied 150,000 liters of fuel to the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.
"The lack of fuel restricts the functioning of vital public services, especially hospitals," Irfan Sulejmani, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza, said in a statement.
The president of Gaza’s bakery owners association had said Wednesday that some bakeries in the coastal enclave would have to close if the energy crisis continued.
Gaza depends heavily on fuel smuggled in from Egypt to keep its lone power station on line. But as supplies were severely reduced from Egypt, the station was shut down last Tuesday, and Gaza has faced blackouts of up to 18 hours per day.
Gaza’s energy supply is bad at the best of times, with a rickety infrastructure system badly degraded during fighting over the past five years between Israel and Hamas. Gaza officials say Israel’s closure regime has blocked the import of equipment to upgrade the power station and network.