Smuggling tunnel collapses in Rafah

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Maan News Agency | Oct 7, 2011

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — A smuggling tunnel under the border of Egypt and the Gaza Strip collapsed on Friday, Egyptian security sources said.

Security officials told Ma’an that a truck was unloading construction materials near the site of the collapse and overturned into the tunnel, in the cross-border town of Rafah.

Police attended the scene but the smugglers escaped, Egyptian sources said.

Smuggling tunnels have provided a lifeline to the Gaza Strip since Israel tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007, when Hamas took control of the enclave after winning democratic elections a year earlier.

The Israeli legal center Gisha has obtained Israeli government documents on the closure policy through a freedom of information petition.

The documents reveal that Israeli army officers “developed mathematical formulas to determine the quantity and types of food Gaza residents would be allowed to consume. Hummus was permitted, but not when topped with pine nuts or mushrooms,” the center reported.

Under a court order, Israel’s defense ministry released documents outlining that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories considered whether an item was perceived as “luxury” when deciding what to allow into Gaza.

“Paper, clothes and shoes were prohibited, as were tea and coffee during various periods,” Gisha notes in a September report on the documents.

Egypt’s reopening of the Rafah border crossing in May allowed some Gaza residents to leave the coastal enclave for the first time in years. But as the terminal is not equipped for the transfer of goods, it has had a limited impact on the siege.


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