Monday, 8 June 2015

7 Palestinian workers narrowly survive Gaza tunnel collapse


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Seven Palestinian workers narrowly escaped death after a smuggling tunnel collapsed beneath the southern Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, sources told Ma'an.

Sources said that Palestinian Civil Defense rescue teams had managed to pull out the workers who were trapped under rubble after the tunnel collapsed while they were inside it.

Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt.

While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gazans including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.

At the the tunnel economy's height, in 2010, the Peace Research Institute Oslo estimated that as many as 15,000 workers and 25,000 traders were involved in the Gazan tunnel economy, while in 2012, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that almost four times more construction material was reaching Gaza through tunnels than through Israeli crossings.

However, the industry has declined since 2013 as both Egyptian and Israeli armies bombarded and destroyed the tunnel networks.

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