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Five Gazans killed in tunnel incidents

By AFP - Dec 04,2016 - Last updated at Dec 04,2016

GAZA CITY — Five Palestinians have been killed in incidents in tunnels in the Gaza Strip, officials said Sunday, including four found dead after the flooding of a passage linking the enclave to Egypt.

Four men aged 22 to 45 "were found dead after the tunnel they were working in was flooded nine days ago by the Egyptian army", local authorities in the city of Rafah near Egypt's border said in a statement.

Egypt had not confirmed the information, though it has destroyed hundreds of tunnels in the area, alleging they are used to transport arms and fighters.

Gazans use such tunnels to smuggle goods into the Palestinian enclave, which is run by Islamist movement Hamas and has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. 

The border between Egypt and Gaza has also remained largely closed since the 2013 overthrow of Egypt's Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Separately, Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, said Sunday that one of its fighters was killed while working in a "resistance" tunnel.

It did not provide further details, including whether the tunnel had collapsed, though the term resistance tunnels is used to refer to those dug for military purposes. 

While the tunnels into Egypt have been dug for smuggling, Gazan tunnels into Israel have been used for attacks.

 

Gazans allege Egypt has carried out work to flood the area along its border to destroy tunnels into its Sinai Peninsula, where Egyptian security forces are also fighting Daesh-linked militants.

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