Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are reeling from another devastating blockade but this time they are blaming Egypt, the neighbouring Arab power they once hoped would end their isolation, rather than their old foe Israel.
In a few weeks of digging, dynamiting and drenching, Cairo's troops have destroyed many of the smuggling tunnels that ran under the Egypt-Gaza border and which had provided the cramped coastal enclave with commercial goods as well as weaponry.
The Islamist Hamas government, which taxes much of the traffic through the underground passages, has been hit hard by the losses. Ordinary Palestinians, many of them dependent on U.N. aid handouts, have seen prices for staple goods skyrocket.
"There is a difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza because of the Egyptian measures on the borders," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "Most of the tunnels were demolished and the few that remain open are paralysed."
He likened the crisis to 2007, when Israel, responding to the Hamas takeover of Gaza in a brief civil war with Western-backed Palestinian rivals, clamped down on the territory. more