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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
EU resumes fuel payments to Gaza
Sunset over Gaza City
At least half of Gaza's 1.4 million residents have been without power
The EU has resumed payment for fuel shipments to the only power plant in the Gaza Strip on a provisional basis.

The EU cut off funding last Thursday because of concerns over plans by the Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, to tax electricity bills.

The row left hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without electricity but most should now be getting power back.

A senior Hamas leader denied his group had any such tax plans, and said assurances had been sent to the EU.

Three fuel trucks crossed from Israel into Gaza at the Nahal Oz crossing and headed to the power plant.

The resumption of fuel-aid payments to Gaza comes after EU officials held a meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, in the West Bank.

In a statement on Tuesday, the European Commission said it had agreed with Mr Fayyad that audits would be carried out to ensure that "fuel aid in Gaza remains properly managed".

A joint committee of the EU and the Palestinian Authority has been set up to monitor fuel delivery.

Electricity generation would have to be properly managed from now on, EU officials said.

Earlier, the former Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, said the decision to withdraw funding amounted to collective punishment for the people of Gaza.

He said the allegations against Hamas were an attempt by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' government to discredit the movement.


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