GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Gaza Strip has received its first shipment of industrial fuel in 45 days, bringing much-needed relief to the coastal territory hit by snow, flooding and power outages.
A lack of fuel has hampered rescue efforts in Gaza, where an estimated 40,000 residents fled flooded homes.
Gaza has suffered from fuel shortages since the Hamas militant group seized power in 2007, prompting Israel and Egypt to impose a blockade on the territory. The situation has worsened since Egypt's new military rulers tightened the blockade.
But this weekend, Israel sent diesel fuel for heating and four water pumps as a humanitarian gesture.
With today's shipment of Israeli fuel, officials say Gazans will have roughly 12 hours of electricity a day, up from the recent level of six hours. A Palestinian border official says the fuel was paid for by Qatar.
The storm brought a rare snowfall to Israel and the West Bank, including Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It also hit Jordan, where King Abdullah II caused a stir by getting out of his SUV to help push a car out of the snow yesterday.