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Israel blamed for power cuts in Egypt

Israel blamed for power cuts in Egypt
Egyptian Prime Minister, Ahmed Nazif, addresses the closing session of the World Economic Forum at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh on May 20, 2008. The theme of this year’s summit is “Learning from the Future.” The forum is one of the largest gatherings for political and business leaders in the Middle East. (UPI Photo) | License Photo

CAIRO, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Protesters in parts of Egypt pointed to natural gas exports to Israel as the reason for blackouts in their country, an opposition group said.

Cairo said it was imposing blackouts during the warmest part of the year to prevent the electrical grid from collapsing. An energy council led by Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said the blackouts would continue during the heat wave but would last only a few hours at a stretch.

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Protesters across Egypt lit candles in protest of Egyptian natural gas exports to Israel saying an agreement selling gas to Jerusalem was the main cause of the lack of electricity in their country.

Demonstrators in a letter to the Muslim Brotherhood's Web site Ikhwanweb said the reason for the protest was to highlight the level of corruption in Cairo, adding lawmakers were ignoring the plight of common Egyptians.

Lawmakers earlier this year complained about a subsidized deal between East Mediterranean Gas and three Israeli companies for natural gas over the next 18 years.

Last week, three Egyptian nationals filed a lawsuit calling on President Hosni Mubarak to dismiss Electricity Minister Hassan Younis for failing to address the problem.

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Cairo blames a lack of funding for the blackouts.

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