Oil prices rise as Israel steps up strikes on Gaza

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Global oil prices have rallied as Israel intensifies its airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip, raising fears that a prolonged conflict could disrupt supplies from the crude-rich Middle East.

On Monday, New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery, increased USD2.36 from Friday to reach USD89.28 per barrel.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January soared USD2.75 to settle at USD111.70 a barrel.

“The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, which has stoked fears about supply of oil across the Middle East region, continues to provide the main source of support to prices,” GFT Markets analyst Fawad Razaqzada said.

Meanwhile, in reaction to the ongoing situation in Gaza, Iraq on Friday, November 16, proposed to oil-rich Arab states to use oil as a weapon against Israel.

“Iraq will invite (Arab) ministers to use the weapon of oil, with the aim of asserting real pressure on the United States and whoever stands with Israel,” Iraq’s Arab League representative, Qais al-Azzawy, told reporters in Cairo on Friday.

Analysts say the Middle East conflict’s spillover into oil-rich Arab countries could still push the oil prices higher.

Israeli airstrikes and shelling have left at least 112 Palestinians dead and about 1,000 others injured since November 14. Twenty seven children were among the Palestinian fatalities.

The Israeli military said on Monday that it had conducted more than 1,350 aerial and sea attacks against the Gaza Strip since the beginning of its aggression on the coastal enclave.

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