Gaza under 2 Blockades as Egypt Destroys Tunnels
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Since Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi’s ouster, the Egyptian army has destroyed smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border, choking the Palestinian territory that is already hurting under the Israeli blockade.
Inside a dusty tunnel that once linked the Gaza Strip to Egypt, a makeshift conveyor belt bears a bag full of rubble and stones.
In the old days, Khaled, a tunnel worker in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, used to haul merchandise from Egypt into the blockaded Strip – providing a lifeline for the 1.5 million inhabitants of one of the world’s most densely populated regions, AFP reported.
The Rafah tunnels are controversial – the Israelis worry about weapons making their way into Gaza. But here in Rafah, Gaza’s second largest city, the tunnels were a critical source of income, employing most of the men of working age.
“There is not one tunnel working at the border between Gaza and Egypt. All we can do now is clean the tunnels by pulling out dirt,” sighs Khaled.
At the entrance to the tunnel, the neighbourhood is empty – one of the busiest parts of Gaza has turned into a ghost town.
In sharp contrast, the Rafah crossing point – the only official crossing between the Palestinian territory and Egypt – is a hive of activity.
Residents waiting in long lines inside the terminal building argue with local officials, brandishing their documents, yelling, cajoling and pleading in a desperate bid to make it into Egypt.
Since the July 3 ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government, relations have soured between the Egyptian military and Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza.