Gaza tunnels 'shut down by Hamas'

By Jessica Elgot, April 14, 2010
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Tunnels are dug under the Gaza-Egypt border to allow goods to be smuggled between the countries.

Tunnels are dug under the Gaza-Egypt border to allow goods to be smuggled between the countries.

Hamas has ordered Gazans to shut down the network of tunnels used for smuggling along the border with Egypt, in an unprecedented move.

Gazans told Israeli media that they believed the closure of the tunnels was in response to security requests from Egypt. The move comes shortly after Israelis were advised to leave the Sinai peninsula after an urgent warning of an imminent kidnap attempt by Hamas.

The Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt, usually accessible on Wednesdays and Thursdays, has been closed in light of the terror threat. More than 650 Israelis had already returned home by this morning.

Hamas sources told Ha’aretz that the closure of the tunnels was temporary and that citizens were allowed to retrieve perishable items from the tunnels.

Egypt has also cracked down on smuggling through the Gaza tunnels and is in the process of building an underground wall, made of steel, to block the tunnels.

    Last updated: 4:22pm, April 14 2010