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September 22, 2013 5:19 pm

Hamas Says Egypt Shut Down 130 Smuggling Tunnels

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Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip. Photo: Wiki Commons. The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is claiming that Egyptian authorities have recently shut down some 130 smuggling tunnels connecting the Palestinian enclave with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, causing Gaza’s economy an estimated loss of $250 million, Israel Radio reported Sunday.

The network of hundreds of underground tunnels has been an economic lifeline for Gaza, bringing in an estimated 30 percent of all goods that reach it. Egypt’s military says the network is also used by terror groups to transfer weapons and terrorists.

According to the report, one of the advisors to Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may agree to jointly run the Rafah border crossing—the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt—with the Palestinian Authority, to facilitate its continuous operations.

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Egypt closed the Rafah crossing on Saturday, after keeping it open for two days to allow Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Israel Radio reported Sunday that the Egyptian military was continuing with an operation against terror hubs in the Sinai Peninsula. Eyewitnesses said that Egyptian Air Force Apache helicopters were circling the Rafah area. An Egyptian security source said that the operation in Sinai would continue, pending further notice from Cairo.

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