A dispute over the supply of fuel aid to Gaza continues to leave thousands without electricity. Locals have improvised with gas lamps and candles but soaring daytime temperatures mean many prefer to sleep on the streets rather than stay in their stifling homes. The territory’s main power plant has been forced to shut down after the European Union halted its payments for fuel shipments to the area on Sunday.
The move came when EU officials became suspicious that the controlling Hamas faction intended to raise funds by taxing local electricity supplies. They have said that payments will not resume until assurances are received that no taxes will be levied. A Hamas spokesperson has criticised the bloc as supporting a policy of “collective punishment” for Palestinians living in Gaza, saying that the EU’s concerns were unfounded.
The Islamist group seized power in Gaza in June. Brussels, Washington and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organisation and refuse to offer it support.