The sole power plant in the Gaza Strip has been knocked offline due to a lack of fuel, electricity officials said.
As a result, the power supply in the Palestinian territory will be reduced from the previous 12 hours to four hours, dpa news agency quoted the officials as saying on Saturday.
Israel closed its border with Gaza to goods and people early in the week, fearing reprisals after the arrest of a Palestinian militant leader in the West Bank.
An electricity company official said the plant’s shutdown was leading to a “catastrophic situation” in Gaza, noting the impoverished territory had already been suffering from insufficient electricity.
Around 550 megawatts of electricity are needed daily to cover the needs of the approximately 2 million residents. Recently, however, only 180 megawatts were available.
Palestinian security sources said that Israel originally intended to reopen the crossing for the import of limited amounts of fuel, but withdrew the decision at the last minute.
This was preceded by mediation attempts, according to the sources.
Tensions soared on Friday after Israeli forces launched a large-scale military operation against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in the Gaza Strip.
At least 24 people have been killed in airstrikes, including senior leader Taisir al-Jabari, according to Palestinian health officials.
Palestinian militants responded by firing rockets at Israel, almost all of which either fell in unpopulated areas or were intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system.