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Israel Cuts Off Power Supply To Gaza

The Israeli government has ordered its state-run electricity company to halt power supply to the Gaza Strip days after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on the country. 

The Israeli prime minister's office has revealed that the security cabinet has approved several steps to destroy military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad "for many years," including cutting fuel and electricity supplies as well as entry of goods into the Israel-occupied landlocked territory.

"I have signed an order instructing (Israel) Electric Company to stop the electricity supply to Gaza," AFP quoted Energy Minister Israel Katz saying in a statement. 

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has said that Israel has the right to defend itself and warned against hostile nations taking advantage of the latest attacks "This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching," Biden said on national television. A senior Biden administration has revealed that the United States is currently engrossed in intense talks with Israel about its particular needs, noting that Washington always shares timely intelligence.

Israel has launched retaliatory attacks against Gaza and Lebanon after suffering its worst security and intelligence failure since the Yom Kippur war half a century ago. Both sides have suffered heavy casualties with 1,200 dead, including nine Americans, and many more injured. Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group have claimed to have taken captive more than 130 people from inside Israel and brought them into Gaza.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the region’s energy situation will unfold after this catastrophe. Back in August, French energy group TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE)  set the first drilling rig at its location in the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s coast near Israel’s border with the country looking to commence operations in search for gas. The cash-strapped nation hopes that future gas sales could help the country pull out of its deep financial crisis that has seen the local currency lose more than 98% of its value.

"The arrival of the equipment marks an important step in the preparation of the drilling of the exploration well in Block 9, which will begin towards the end of August 2023," TotalEnergies said in a statement. TotalEnergies leads a consortium of energy companies working on the offshore project, which includes Italian oil and gas giant Eni S.p.A.(NYSE:E) as well as state-owned QatarEnergy.

The drilling operations come after a landmark U.S.-brokered agreement last year that saw Lebanon and Israel establish a maritime border for the first time ever. Back in May, Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayad said they hope to determine whether the exploratory block has recoverable gas reserves by the end of the current year.

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By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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