Report: Hamas holds dozens of drivers in Gaza power crisis

Dozens of taxi drivers apprehended for allegedly spreading ‘rumors’ about the territory’s worst power crisis in years, officials say.

Police in Hamas-ruled Gaza have detained dozens of taxi drivers for allegedly spreading “rumors” about the territory’s worst power crisis in years, officials said Monday.

The detentions, which began over the weekend, signaled that the Islamic
militant Hamas is increasingly concerned about the political fallout from
crippling shortages of fuel and electricity.

Authorities did not explain what got the drivers in trouble, beyond saying
the “rumors” had to do with the energy crisis.

However, residents say there’s growing talk among Gazans that Hamas is
keeping separate supplies of fuel for its government and loyalists, a claim
Hamas denies.

At the root of the two-month-old crisis is a standoff between Hamas and
neighboring Egypt over the delivery and payment for fuel.

Fuel smuggled from Egypt through tunnels under the border used to be the
main source of energy for Gaza, including the territory’s only power station
that provides 60 percent of the electricity.

Hamas now wants Egypt to deliver fuel to Gaza through a passage above
ground, trying to establish a precedent Hamas hopes could evolve into a
full-fledged trade route with Egypt.

Egypt is fearful such a link would be seen as absolving Israel, Gaza’s
longtime occupier, of its responsibility for territory. Despite a 2005
withdrawal from Gaza, Israel continues to control access by air, land and sea.

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By The Associated Press

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