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Gaza Strip receives first fuel shipment in weeks as storm causes havoc across Middle East

  • Palestinian rescue members evacuate residents using a fishing boat following heavy rains in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Rescue workers evacuated more than 5,000 Gaza Strip residents from homes flooded by four days of heavy rain, using fishing boats and heavy construction equipment to pluck some of those trapped from upper floors, an official said Saturday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)The Associated Press

  • Palestinian rescue members evacuate residents using fishing boats following heavy rains in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Rescue workers evacuated more than 5,000 Gaza Strip residents from homes flooded by four days of heavy rain, using fishing boats and heavy construction equipment to pluck some of those trapped from upper floors, an official said Saturday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)The Associated Press

  • A couple of Palestinian people watch rescue members evacuate residents following heavy rains in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Rescue workers evacuated more than 5,000 Gaza Strip residents from homes flooded by four days of heavy rain, using fishing boats and heavy construction equipment to pluck some of those trapped from upper floors, an official said Saturday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)The Associated Press

  • Palestinian rescue members evacuate a cat following heavy rains in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Rescue workers evacuated more than 5,000 Gaza Strip residents from homes flooded by four days of heavy rain, using fishing boats and heavy construction equipment to pluck some of those trapped from upper floors, an official said Saturday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)The Associated Press

A Palestinian official says the Gaza Strip has received its first industrial fuel shipment in 45 days, bringing much-needed relief to the storm-battered coastal territory.

A lack of fuel has hampered the rescue efforts in Gaza, where flooding from heavy rains has forced about 40,000 residents from their homes. The territory suffers from frequent power outages.

While the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank can ship fuel to Gaza through Israel, Gaza's Hamas rulers have refused to accept the shipments, saying they cannot afford a new tax.

Palestinian border official Raed Fattouh said Sunday's fuel shipment was paid for by Qatar.

The storm has also left thousands of Israelis without power. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was postponing a regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting until Sunday afternoon over it.