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Gaza Strip to be connected to regional power system

CAIRO, 20 March (RIA Novosti) - The Gaza Strip is to be connected to a unified regional energy system, the Egyptian news agency MENA said on Thursday.

At the moment Gaza is highly dependant on Israel for fuel and electricity supplies to its only power station. According to the agency, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya and Turkey "have agreed to the request of the Palestinian National Authority to include the Gaza Strip in the system."

Gaza has been run by the hard-line Islamic group Hamas since last June after the movement seized control of the enclave from President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah.

Energy blockades by Israel of the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks from the enclave have caused disruptions to power supplies to hospitals and other institutions in Gaza. The energy blockade was at first used as a pressure tactic by Israel in January 2008.

The Islamic Development Bank is ready to provide $32.5 million for the linking of power line cables from Egypt to Gaza and the construction of an energy distribution station.

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