Israel's closure of the crossings into Gaza as a security measure will shortly transform the region into a powerless entity, claimed the Palestinian Authority on Sunday.
Gaza's main power plant began shutdown procedures, according to the Reuters news service, due to a shortage caused by Israel's blockage of fuel deliveries into the area.
"There is no fuel coming in and we have no reserves," claimed Kanaan Abeid, deputy chairman of the PA Energy Authority in the Hamas terrorist-controlled region. According to Abeid, one turbine in the main power plant shut down Sunday morning and it was expected that the second and last turbine would cease operations by Sunday night.
PA officials estimated that one million Gaza residents would be affected by the blackout.
Gaza terrorists fired more than 120 rockets at the western Negev last week alone, wounding a number of Israelis in the besieged city of Sderot, located a bare kilometer from Gaza, and causing damage to homes, public buildings and power lines. Tens of western Negev residents suffered psychological shock from the attacks.
Three of the missiles reached the coastal city of Ashkelon, where several strategic installations are located. One of the missiles exploded for the first time within the city limits in a tennis court. Another slammed into the industrial zone to the south of the city.
Israel said "humanitarian cases" approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak would still be allowed to cross through the checkpoint, but the standard foreign humanitarian aid remains blocked.
UN officials warned the closure would exacerbate the poverty and difficult conditions in which Gaza residents live.
In addition, security sources quoted by Noam Bedein, head of the Sderot Media Center, said the Hamas terrorist organization in control of Gaza charges a $3,000 entry fee for each delivery through the more than 150 smuggler tunnels in and out of the area.
The fee is the same, said the sources regardless of who or what emerges from the tunnels into Gaza. Terrorists, weapons, ammunition, drugs and other contraband are all subject to the same fee regardless of size of the delivery.
At least one ton of ammunition alone has entered Gaza through the smuggler tunnels since Hamas's takeover of the region in June 2007, bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the area, in addition to the millions of dollars smuggled in from Arab donor nations abroad.