Three Palestinian children were found dead Sunday in a fire in their room caused by a candle being used due to lack of electricity in Gaza, an emergency services official said.
"A fire broke out in the children's room," said Adham Abu Selmiya, emergency services spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
"Apparently the fire was caused by a candle which was being used after the electricity was cut," he said, adding that the tragedy occurred in the town of Deir Balah, in the center of the coastal strip.
A fourth child, aged six months, was badly burned and taken to hospital, added Selmiya.
The children, aged two, five and six, were members of the Bashir family, a relative said.
The Gaza Strip's sole power station shuddered to a halt a week ago, running out of fuel just 48 hours after some 450,000 liters were delivered to the coastal strip from Israel.
The weeks-long crisis is inflaming political tensions between Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
Leaders of the rival factions are trading accusations over the shortage, accusing each other of negligence- "The Palestinian people are subjected to a conspiracy to break the will of the people," Hamas leader Khalil Haya told CNN.
Gazans blame Hamas for energy crisis -
Online campaign launched by Strip residents call on Palestinian public to go on general strike in protest of growing electricity, fuel shortage.
An official Palestinian source said that the planned strike will not succeed because Gazans are too afraid of Hamas' security apparatus. However, the source added that the very call for a strike should be seen as a sign of Hamas' failure to smoothly run the Strip.
According to the source, "Hamas will do anything to curtail any acts of protest, including arrests."
As for the prospects of resolving the energy crisis, the Palestinian source noted that Hamas has no interest in reaching an agreement with Egypt or the Palestinian Authority because it makes a large profit from smugglings.
"Hamas is not interested to see taxes from fuel sales reaching Ramallah (PA)," he noted.
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