Gaza tunnel collapses making life hard for Palestinian smugglers

by Kal El on October 3, 2008 · 1 comment

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Awwwwwwwwwww. Breaks my heart. Oh wait, it doesn’t…

(ANSAmed) – GAZA/TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 2 – The day started in the worst possible way for Abu Mussab when an employee told him that an awaited batch of towels had arrived in Egypt, but unfortunately due to a pipe break they were all soaked with petrol. Another mishap for someone like him who manages the traffic of one of the tunnels in Rafah which guarantees the illegal transit of basic commodities from Sinai towards Gaza for one and a half million inhabitants in the Strip. The biggest concern which exceeds all others is that ”within a month our tunnels will belong to the past.” Last week in Rafah, accompanied by a powerful explosion two of them collapsed and six workers who were underground found their death. Recently not a single day has passed without news of another sinking. In order to slip into a tunnel one needs an additional portion of courage. ”We are afraid,” Abu Mussab admits. For Gaza these tunnels are fresh air, given that in June 2006 Israel and Egypt closed the borders with the Strip as a reaction to the putsch of Hamas against the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). In January Hamas pulled down the wall at the border with Egypt, but the free transit lasted for only two weeks. Afterwards the border was once again sealed. Those who need varied supplies (for example, water pumps, medicines, Viagra, cigarettes, clothing or fruit) should only go to the tunnels in Rafah: they are hundreds of metres long and several metres deep. Often their entrance is a modest apartment in Rafah and their exit is an oasis in Sinai. Hamas has its own tunnels, used for military purposes: huge quantities of arms, munitions, explosives are smuggled through them, according to Israeli intelligence services, as well as modern Iranian missiles, taken to pieces, which are then reassembled and studied in Gaza by the military experts of Hamas. Television images show well equipped tunnels, with rails, ventilation drifts, electric lighting, telephones, radio. For years Israel has been pressing Egypt to put an end to the trafficking towards Gaza. As many as 42 tunnels have collapsed in the past weeks, Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported. Certainly, many still remain active. However, the news deserves attention. ”We have heard that there are new instruments in Sinai,” Abu Mussab said. Yedioth Ahronoth added that U.S. military experts are operating in Egypt, near the border with Gaza. They are in civilian dress, in order to avoid attracting attention. However, their presence has been noted. The newspaper did not clarify what their ”secret weapon” would be. It suggested that they are using a sonar based system for the localisation of the tunnels. The repercussions are obvious. Last week, after the death of the Palestinian workers, their relatives gathered at protest rallies. ”Egypt has stabbed us in the back,” they cried. Hamas is trying to remain cautious. Its resentment towards Egypt is obvious but is held under control: at least as long as Cairo continues the efforts for political reconciliation between Hamas and Al Fatah. (ANSAmed).

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  • ender

    remember, if they can’t kill you, they will out breed you and win by having the majority.