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Friday, June 24, 2011     GET REAL

Egypt fuel smugglers find they can command higher price in Libya than Gaza

GAZA CITY — Egypt has redirected fuel smuggling from the Gaza Strip to Libya.


Industry sources said Egyptian suppliers were reducing fuel shipments to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. They said the shipments were heading for Libya, where the smugglers were receiving much higher prices.

"The Libyans are offering much more for the fuel than Gazans could afford," an industry source said.

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One Palestinian merchant, Ayman Abu Shanab, said Egyptian gasoline was being sold for three times as much in Libya than in the Gaza Strip. Abu Shanab said this has resulted in a drop in Egyptian smuggling to the Gaza Strip from 200,000 to 50,000 liters of gasoline per day.

"The fuel that is coming from Egypt is of inferior quality," Abu Shanab said.

The sources said the Egyptian suppliers were believed to have diluted the gasoline to facilitate shipments to Libya. They said fuel stations in the Gaza Strip were rejecting the fuel from Egypt.

"The quantity of fuel that entered the Gaza Strip over the past few days is limited, and the gasoline doesn't match our fuel standard, so we rejected some shipments," Mahmoud Al Khazandar, vice chairman of the Gaza Association of Energy Companies, said.

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