Israel renews fuel deliveries to Gaza

GAZA (Reuters) - Israel renewed fuel deliveries to the Gaza Strip Tuesday, ending a week-long suspension of supplies that led to blackouts in the Hamas-controlled enclave where militants had launched cross-border rocket attacks.

But the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said it would be forced to suspend food distribution to 750,000 Gazans on Thursday night unless Israel opened the Gaza Strip’s border crossings to humanitarian supplies.

UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said the agency’s warehouses were running out of wheat, meat, powdered milk and cooking oil.

About half of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents lost power on Monday when their sole power plant shut down, due to what Palestinian officials said was a lack of fuel.

Palestinian workers said the first delivery for the power plant had been received at the Nahal Oz fuel depot.

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Israel had blocked shipments of EU-funded fuel for a week in response to a surge in rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, who said they were responding to an Israeli raid that killed six gunmen on November 4.

The Israeli military said the raid was aimed at foiling plans by militants to infiltrate and seize soldiers through a tunnel they had dug under the border fence between Gaza and Israel.

The violence disrupted a ceasefire that began in June.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told soldiers near the Gaza border the Israeli military had heightened its readiness there in the event of more violence.

“The question is not if there will be a confrontation, rather when,” Olmert said.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Adam Entous, Writing by Ari Rabinovitch and Ori Lewis; Editing by Dominic Evans