News24

Egypt destroys Gaza tunnels

2010-08-28 15:12

El Arish - Egypt destroyed 12 smuggling tunnels into the Gaza Strip, security sources said on Saturday.

The sources said the soldiers involved in blowing up the tunnels maintained contact with officials on the Gazan side of the border, to ensure that no people were underground during the process.

The tunnels were found at various points along the Sinai Peninsula's small border with Gaza.

Following the deaths of nine Turkish activists in late in May who were part of a flotilla aiming at breaking the blockade on the coastal territory, Israel and Egypt have slightly relaxed the embargoed goods into Gaza.

Israel now lets in more food items and some construction materials, but the building supplies are only for the UN, leaving regular Gazans dependent on the tunnels for numerous items.

The blockade on Gaza was tightened after the Islamist Hamas movement took control of the territory in 2007. Since then all exports have also been banned and this has yet to be lifted.

Egypt has kept its border crossing at Rafah open since June, the longest period in the history of the blockade, to allow Palestinians with the appropriate paperwork to cross back and forth, though many say they are still denied movement.