Thursday, 10 October 2013

Isolated Hamas faces money crisis in Gaza


Hamas is struggling to meet its payroll in the Gaza Strip, where income from taxes has been badly hit since neighboring Egypt started destroying a network of tunnels used to smuggle food, fuel and weapons into the Islamist-run enclave.

The crisis means that Gaza's thousands of civil servants may not receive their full salaries in time for an important Muslim holiday next week.

Egypt, which accuses Hamas of aiding Muslim militants in the lawless Sinai desert, has been waging a campaign to destroy the smuggling tunnels that delivered weapons and other goods to the Gaza Strip, which is partially blockaded by Israel.

Hamas, which denies the Egyptian allegations, taxes the traffic through the tunnels - a money stream that has now virtually run dry.

Last month, the Hamas government paid only 77 percent of its $25 million August payroll for Gaza's 50,000 civil servants. more

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