Hamas hoards fuel to power tunnel ventilation, says independent defence expert

Widespread reports say Gaza hospitals are running out of diesel


ISRAEL GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - AUGUST 04: Overview of a tunnel built underground by Hamas militants leading from the Gaza Strip into Southern Israel, seen on August 4, 2014 near the Israeli Gaza border, Israel. As Operation Protective Edge enters its 28th day, the Israeli mission of demolishing Hamas tunnels comes to a close and ground forces returned from Gaza, while Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and Hamas rocket fire to Israeli continues. Palestinian groups including envoys of Hamas and Islamic Jihad held their first formal meeting in Cairo hoping to secure a durable ceasefire with Israel. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

A leading defence expert has rejected the claim that there is not enough fuel for hospital generators in Gaza, saying that Hamas is holding onto the diesel to power the ventilation system for its vast tunnel network.

Bruno Tertrais, Deputy Director of FRS, a non-partisan French security think-tank, said: “There is fuel for diesel generators in Gaza. Plenty of fuel. But Hamas needs a lot of it to power its own generators for air circulation in the subterranean city.

“So Hamas keeps the fuel (and sometimes steals it from the UN), and Gazans don’t get it.”

The UN said yesterday that hospitals in the Gaza Strip were taking emergency cases only amid claims by Hamas that fuel supplies would run out across the territory over the course of the day.

When a UN official was confronted by a Sky News journalist with the claim that Hamas was hoarding fuel for military purposes, she failed to provide any comment or rebuttal.

This week the IDF published aerial imagery of what it said was 500,000 litres of fuel in storage tanks in Gaza.

“These are fuel tanks inside Gaza,” the IDF said. “They contain more than 500,000 litres of fuel.”

“Hamas-Isis steals this fuel from civilians and transfers it to its tunnels, rocket launchers, and leaders. This is what Hamas’s list of priorities looks like,” Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic spokesman, added.

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