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Israel lifts Gaza fuel restriction after calm returns

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Palestinians mourn during the funeral procession of Badreddin Abu Musa in the city of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 31, 2019. – Musa, 25, who was wounded in yesterday’s clashes with Israeli troops during a demonstration along the border with Israel, died this morning, the health ministry in the blockaded coastal enclave said. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Israel has lifted a restriction on fuel delivered to Gaza for electricity, a defence official said Monday, a week after cutting the flow by half over a series of violent incidents.

Israeli defence ministry unit COGAT announced on August 26 it was halving the amount of fuel allowed into Gaza from its territory after three rockets were fired at the Jewish state the day before.

Israel responded with airstrikes against the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas movement.

A series of other violent incidents in August preceded that.

A further round occurred on August 27, when Gaza militants fired a mortar round across the border and an Israeli aircraft struck a Hamas post in northern Gaza in response.

There have not been projectile launches from Gaza since.

A defence official told AFP that the fuel restriction had been removed on Sunday.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and fears of a fourth remain.

Israel maintains a crippling blockade of Gaza it says is necessary to isolate Hamas and keep it from obtaining weapons, but which critics label collective punishment.

Under an informal agreement brokered last year, the Jewish state was expected to ease restrictions in exchange for calm but Hamas has since accused Israel of not fully abiding by the agreement.

Fuel deliveries, which are coordinated with the United Nations and paid for by Gulf state Qatar, were part of that truce agreement.

The Gaza Strip suffers from electricity shortages and the Qatari fuel has boosted public power to around 10 hours a day, up from as little as four.


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