Monday, 6 May 2013

Egypt uncovers 276 smuggling tunnels under Gaza border

CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian forces uncovered 276 previously unknown smuggling tunnels under the border with Gaza on Monday.

Egyptian security officials told Ma'an that 154 tunnels had been destroyed and 94 would be demolished soon. Security forces are struggling to destroy some 28 tunnels constructed under residential properties.

All the tunnel openings have been blocked temporarily with rocks, security sources added.

Israel imposed its blockade for what it called security reasons in 2007. The United Nations has appealed for it to be lifted.

At one stage an estimated 2,500-3,000 tunnels snaked their way under the desert fence but the network has shrunk markedly since 2010, when Israel eased some of the limits they imposed on imports into the coastal enclave. more

Israel allows children to visit Gaza prisoners

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel allowed children from Gaza to visit their relatives in Israeli prison for the first time in weeks, an International Committee for the Red Cross official said Monday.

Nasser al-Najjar told Ma'an that 61 families from the Gaza Strip, including seven children headed to the Beit Hanoun pedestrian crossing into Israel ahead of their visit to relatives in the Nafha prison.

"The Israeli side allows children under the age of 8 to visit their relatives in jail," he added.

Al-Najjar said the ICRC welcomed the move and expressed hope for continued reform to allow Gaza detainees prisoner visits.

Last Monday Israel put a halt to prison visits for Palestinians prisoners from Gaza in response to rocket fire from the coastal enclave, the Palestinian Authority liaison office said. more