Source AP ©

Protesters block traffic in Gaza City against fuel cutbacks

Palestinian drivers blocked traffic in the middle of a busy road in Gaza City Tuesday in protest against Israeli fuel curtailment to the strip.

Dozens of cars and trucks were plastered with banners in Arabic and English that said, "No to fuel restrictions." Drivers beeped their horns as the protest made its way slowly through crowded streets.

Israel, which supplies nearly all of Gaza's fuel and half of its electricity, scaled back fuel supplies last month and has threatened to do the same with electrical power in an effort to deter Gaza militants from firing rockets into southern Israel.

A spokesman for one of Gaza's fuel companies cautioned that gas stations would soon starting shutting down if the cutbacks weren't lifted.

"We are running out of fuel our storage will end within five days and we will shut down all the stations," said Mahmoud Khozudar, a spokesman for the Gaza fuel companies. "You will have no bakery, no water, no sewage treatment and no transportation."

Supplies of diesel and benzene are already down by 40 to 50 percent while supplies to Gaza's power plant are down by 12 percent, said Mojahed Salam, head of the Palestinian Authority's gas agency.

Israeli military authorities weren't immediately available for comment, but in the past, they have said the cuts were not as deep as the Palestinians have maintained.

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