RAFAH, Palestinian Territories — "If this closure continues it will be a disaster," says Abu Taha, who runs one of hundreds of cross-border smuggling tunnels that were closed after a deadly attack in the Sinai.
For the 40-year-old businessman, the tunnels burrowed deep under Gaza's southern border with Egypt have provided him and thousands of others with a steady and lucrative source of income over the years.
But it all come to a grinding halt on Sunday night after a group of more than 30 gunmen dressed as Bedouin stormed a nearby Egyptian border police post in northern Sinai, killing 16 of them before storming the border with Israel.
The brutal attack prompted shock in Cairo, which quickly closed the Rafah border and blocked access to the smuggling tunnels, abruptly cutting off a lifeline for Gaza which has been subjected to an Israeli blockade since 2006.
"Merchandise and foodstuffs come through the tunnels, and building activities will completely stop," Abu Taha told AFP.
"Closing the tunnels will strangle Gaza and make Israel happy." more