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Hamas says Egypt caused Gaza tunnel collapse, killing 3

Palestinian groups say Egyptian forces pumped gas into the tunnel; Cairo, which has sought to clamp down on border smuggling, has yet to comment on incident

In this Monday, September 30, 2013 file photo, a Palestinian worker rests inside a smuggling tunnel in Rafah, on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. (AP/Hatem Moussa)
In this Monday, September 30, 2013 file photo, a Palestinian worker rests inside a smuggling tunnel in Rafah, on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. (AP/Hatem Moussa)

The bodies of three Palestinians were discovered on Friday after an underground tunnel from the southern Gaza Strip to Egypt collapsed, authorities in the Hamas-controlled enclave said.

“Civil defense teams found three bodies under the ground near the border, south of Rafah” city after part of the tunnel collapsed on Thursday, interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozom said in a statement.

The deaths occurred after gas was sent into the tunnel from the Egyptian side, triggering the collapse that killed “three workers,” a source close to Hamas claimed on condition of anonymity.

Egypt has not commented on the incident.

Palestinians have in the past said that Egypt uses gas to halt the use of illegal tunnels it finds along the border.

Egypt has demolished hundreds of tunnels between its territory and Gaza, but smugglers of commercial goods and weapons are still believed to operate a number of subterranean passageways there.

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