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Egypt increases electricity to Gaza - official

Source: Reuters - Sat, 2 Aug 2014 16:18 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Eight of nine power lines into Gaza damaged

* Egypt plans to increase electricity to Gaza by 22 megawatts

GAZA/CAIRO, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Egypt has increased the amount of electricity it provides to Gaza and urged Israel to repair power lines damaged during Israeli bombardment that has left at least one million people without electricity, an Egyptian official said on Saturday.

The official told Reuters that Egypt has added an extra seven megawatts to the 27 it feeds into Gaza and plans to increase that by 15 megawatts more in an effort to alleviate the electricity crisis.

Gaza officials say at least 1,669 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since the Israeli offensive started on July 8. Israel says 63 Israeli soldiers have died and three civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets in Israel. Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant on Tuesday.

The official said Egypt had also urged Israel to allow the repair of nine lines that feed Gaza with Israeli-generated power that had been damaged during the offensive.

"I believe that by the end of today, three of the nine damaged lines may become operational," the source said on condition of anonymity.

The source and another Egyptian official said that since the start of the current conflict, Egypt has allowed 2,800 tonnes of medicine and medical items, 800 tonnes of food, 10 ambulances and 49 tonnes of dates through the Rafah crossing on the Egypt- Gaza border.

They said in that period, 3,100 patients and 1,200 Palestinians with foreign passports as well as 2,000 Egyptians and Palestinian holders of Egyptian passports were allowed into Egypt through the crossing.

Hamas leaders have called for Cairo to ease curbs at its Rafah crossing with Gaza imposed after the military ousted President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist, a year ago. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Yasmine Saleh in Cairo; Writing by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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