Gaza Tunnel Business Drops Due To Egypt’s Security Crackdown

Gaza Tunnel Business Drops Due To Egypt’s Security Crackdown

From Xinhua

Several trucks are lined up near the Rafah crossing on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, waiting to transport goods. However, due to Egypt’s crackdown on smuggling tunnels, the once heat-up business is not thriving.

“Only a few tunnels are still operating, secretly, because the Egyptian army campaign against the tunnels has not ended yet,” said Abu Mahmoud, a truck driver. “Few goods were transported in addition to limited amounts of fuels from Egypt to Gaza.”

The Egyptian government said that the tunnels were used for not only transporting daily necessities to the Gaza Strip, but also smuggling weapons. However, Hamas denied that it was involved in violence in Egypt.

Over the past three months, since the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian army has destroyed most of smuggling tunnels underneath the border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai.

After Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 in response to the Hamas movement’s seizing control of the coastal enclave, the Palestinians dug hundreds of tunnels to smuggle basic needs, such as food and fuels.

Salah Hamad, a Palestinian smuggler in Rafah town, told Xinhua that it is hard to enter Egypt through the tunnels now.

“Going to Egypt through the tunnels is full of risks nowadays, and it is not as easy as it was before the Egyptian revolution on July 30,” Hamad said.

The 13-kilometer borderline between Egypt and the Gaza Strip returns to calm over the past several weeks, leaving only Egyptian bulldozers digging in the ground to search for tunnels.

“We easily hear the sound of the bulldozers and sometimes in the middle of nights we heard huge explosions and felt that the ground was shaking,” said Om Ahmed, a 45-year-old mother of six children. Read more at Xinhua.