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Egypt to replace Israel as Gaza's power supply

Thursday, March 27, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

CAIRO Egypt has agreed to replace Israel as the leading electricity supplier to the Gaza Strip.

The regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has decided to increase electricity to the Hamas regime by nearly nine-fold in 2008. Officials said the agreement reflected weeks of negotiations that included Israel and the United States.

"Egypt has decided to implement a project aiming to increase its provision of electricity to the Gaza Strip from 17 to 150 megawatts, in order to give relief to the Palestinians," Egypt's state-owned daily Al Ahram said on March 21.

Officials said Egypt would be loaned $32.5 million by the Islamic Development Bank to increase power supplies to the Gaza Strip. They said the Egyptian Electricity Ministry would generate electricity from El Arish, the capital of the northern Sinai Peninsula.

Until this year, Egypt has provided up to 10 percent of Gaza's power requirements, with Israel the remainder. Israel has provided 120 megawatts of electricity as well as fuel to power the Gaza Strip's 140 megawatt power facility.

The Mubarak regime has also agreed to export natural gas to the Gaza Strip. Egyptian Oil Minister Sameh Fahmi said Cairo would help develop natural gas reserves off the Gaza coast, a project suspended by British Gas.

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