Hamas to close smuggling tunnels, fearing collapses
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Hamas to close smuggling tunnels, fearing collapses

Several people reportedly killed in Gaza Strip underground passages in the wake of massive storm

A Palestinian man works at the entrance of a destroyed smuggling tunnel along the Egypt Gaza border in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on November 27, 2012. (photo credit: AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)
A Palestinian man works at the entrance of a destroyed smuggling tunnel along the Egypt Gaza border in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on November 27, 2012. (photo credit: AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

Hamas officials announced that the smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to Egypt have been closed until further notice, Israel Radio reported on Monday.

During last week’s storm, the heaviest to hit Israel and the Palestinian territories in nearly 20 years, several smugglers were reportedly killed, buried in collapsed tunnels.

The tunnels are one of the main sources of income for Hamas, which also uses them to smuggle in weapons. Air strikes on the tunnels by IAF fighter jets during Operation Pillar of Defense in November met with some success, but the tunnels’ operation never ceased completely.

Since the beginning of the naval blockade in 2007, after Hamas ascended to power in the Gaza Strip, Israel has allowed humanitarian aid to enter the coastal territory overland, through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

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