Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza’s only power plant on Tuesday, further destroying the region’s already fragile infrastructure and adding to the besieged strip’s already dire humanitarian situation.
Video posted online shows billowing black clouds and thick flames that emerged from the strike hitting the fuel tanks, forcing it to shut down. No one was reported killed in the strike.
The plant is the second-largest source of energy for the besieged enclave’s 1.8 million residents and the sole provider inside the Gaza Strip. It had already been hit in 2006 and was working at reduced capacity, providing just a couple of hours of electricity to the residents of Gaza daily.
Video courtesy of Facebook/Bashar Taleb
“There is a major disaster that has now started across Gaza,” The plant’s manager, Jamal Dersawi, told NBC News. “The power station has stopped so production has stopped.”
Desawi added that it would affect all 1.8 million residents of the strip, and that he was unsure how the flames would be fully extinguished considering Gaza has severely limited emergency response capabilities.
A spokesperson for the Israeli military did not immediately respond to VICE News' request for comment.
The strike comes on the 22nd day of Israel’s military offensive, which has so far left more than 1,000 Palestinians and 50 Israelis dead. Tuesday was one of the deadliest days in fighting, which killed as many as 100 Palestinians, according to Gaza medical reports. Israel also reported its deadliest day so far, with 10 Israeli soldiers killed.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes targeted the house of Hamas' deputy chief Ismail Haniyeh, but no casualties were reported.
On Tuesday afternoon a senior official from the Palestinian Liberation Organization — representing a coalition of Palestinian political factions — announced a 24-hour unilateral ceasefire to allow Palestinian figures to travel to Cairo to negotiate a more permanent end to hostilities. The proposal, however, was promptly brushed aside by both Palestinian militant groups and Israel.
"We will not agree to calm until Israel commits to quiet," said a spokesperson for Hamas in response to the ceasefire announcement. "If we get an international commitment regarding an Israeli agreement for calm, we will consider it."
Mark Regev, the prime minister’s spokesman, said the proposal "is not serious."
On Tuesday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “prolonged” siege in Gaza, indicating that there would likely be no end to hostilities in the near future.
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