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Egypt forces say 225 Gaza tunnels found under border
Published Sunday 17/02/2013 (updated) 18/02/2013 16:52
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EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian forces have discovered over 225 smuggling tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip, a military spokesperson said Sunday.

Egyptian military spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali told Ma'an that the army is continuing with efforts to close down the network of underground tunnels.

"Each tunnel has several exits, including inside Egyptian houses, and thus can be difficult to detect. There may therefore be as many as over 500 tunnels," he added.

Earlier this week, Egyptian forces flooded smuggling tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip in a campaign to shut them down, Egyptian and Palestinian officials said.

Reporters saw one tunnel being used to bring in cement and gravel suddenly fill with water last Sunday, sending workers rushing for safety. Locals said two other tunnels were likewise flooded, with Egyptians deliberately pumping in water.

One tunnel owner said that 150-200 tunnels had been closed since an attack in Sinai last August, which left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead.

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.

Israel imposed its blockade for what it called security reasons in 2007, although human rights groups have called it a form of collective punishment.

The tunnel network developed as a vital source of goods under Israel's blockade of the coastal strip and Egyptian restrictions on the official Rafah crossing point.

Reuters contributed to this report
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1 ) ali farhan / indonesia
18/02/2013 00:26
why it closed? the fate of 2 million people gaza? they need to eat items and necessities of life through via the tunnel. astaghfirullahal 'adzim.

2 ) LW / USA
18/02/2013 17:43
There is no shortage of food in Gaza. They have malls and iPhones. Egypt has a right to close tunnels on it's side, don't you think. The tunnels may remain on the Gaza side as a compromise.

3 ) My2Cents / USA
18/02/2013 18:47
Egypt has opened several border crossing points to people and commercial traffic, subject to inspection by the governments on both sides (Egypt and Palestinian), so saying the tunnels are necessary for the daily food supply is erroneous. Most of the stuff going through the tunnels is to evade taxes and tariffs, or stolen, but there is a large percentage that is weapons or wanted personnel. The Egyptian government has presented evidence that several extremist groups use Gaza as a base of oper
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