Wednesday September 24, 2008 00:21 by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Tuesday at night that Palestinian medics recovered the bodies of four residents, who were killed in an explosion that took place on Tuesday evening in a tunnel at the Gaza-Egypt border. At least one was wounded and was moved to a local hospital n Rafah.
The sources stated that the bodies of Mustafa Saleh Al Najjar, 19, Omar Fayez Barghout, 21, Ahmad Abdul-Latif Al Najjar, an a fourth unidentified body were located under the rubble, and that one wounded resident was also evacuated from the scene.
The explosion took place in a tunnel in Al Brazil area, on the borders with Egypt in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
According to the Palestinian Information Center, run by Hamas, Egyptian security forces detonated the tunnel while five residents were in it. The forces most likely did not know residents were in the tunnel.
The center added that the Egyptian security forces are digging on their side in an attempt to locate any resident who are stuck under the rubble.
The number of Palestinians who died in tunnel accidents since the beginning of this year arrived to 33 and dozens of residents were wounded.
On September 18, two Palestinians were killed and three others were wounded after a tunnel they were digging at the Egyptian-Gaza border collapsed on them.
Reuters reported that several residents in the area said that the tunnel was meant to be used for bringing food and goods into the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials maintain that all tunnels are meant to be used for smuggling arms and ammunition from Egypt into Gaza.
29 Palestinians were killed and 34 were wounded in tunnel accidents since the beginning of this year. Resident Kamal Ahmad Al Imam, 35, died in a tunnel collapse in Rafah on Monday at night on September 22
By Maya El Kaliouby
Published: August 24, 2008
An Egyptian border guard stand with a dog close to a smuggling tunnel discovered along the border close to the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian Gaza Strip on August 19. According to Egyptian lieutenant-commander Yasser Mohammed Ali of the Liaison Agency with International Organizations (LAWIO) some 452 tunnels have been uncovered in the past three months. (AFP Khaled Desouki)RAFAH, Egypt (AFP) Hidden in the shadows of a Rafah residential zone, two Egyptian border police and their attack dogs stand guard at the entrance to a smuggling tunnel to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The discovery of the tunnel, only metres (yards) from the garden of a house where young children are playing and giggling near a flock of chickens, shows the latest success in Egypt’s war on smugglers.
Army chief Lieutenant Colonel Yasser Ali proudly showed a group of foreign journalists the tunnel but refused to give details of what — if anything — had been found inside.
“We discovered it this morning. It is the 452nd we have found in the last three years,” he said.The United States and Israel have frequently accused Egypt of failing to halt the smuggling of weapons into the Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since Hamas seized control of it last year.
In June this year, Cairo appealed to the United States for help in locating the tunnels and US authorities responded by sending a team of specialists.
“We need their experience. After all, they are experts. They have to combat tunnels dug by Mexicans to cross into the United States,” Ali added.
A team of US engineers from the Department of Defence is already on site, but is keeping a low profile, working to support and train Egyptian forces in the battle against the smugglers.”We are already finding more tunnels ourselves; more than 200 this year. But we want to use their more successful methods of tunnel detection and destruction,” Ali said.
In addition to training border guards, the United States has promised to give Egypt 33 million dollars (22.2 million euros) to buy new technology to uncover tunnels.
Authorities said the equipment had been dispatched and had yet to arrive in Egypt, but they refused to give details regarding the nature of the hardware.
Several times a week, border guards blow up, collapse or fill in freshly discovered tunnels, but there are always more in this frontier region; sometimes in gardens, houses or even school yards. Since the Israeli army withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, 750 Egyptian border guards plus police officers have been deployed along the 13.5 kilometre-long frontier, which stretches from the sea to the desert.
The border zone is a barren, sandy wasteland of searing heat and choking dust that is deserted except for the coils of barbed wire and the concrete barrier wall dividing the two regions.”It is the semi-permanent closure of the Rafah crossing, after the arrival of Hamas in Gaza, which has led to the increase in smuggling tunnels,” Ali said, referring to when the Islamists routed forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in June 2007.
The Rafah crossing is the only link between Gaza and the outside world that bypasses Israel, and is opened to allow limited humanitarian goods into the region. It was last opened in July.”Before Hamas seized power, the crossing was opened at least twice a week allowing normal and legal passage of Palestinians, of aid and provisions,” he said.The siege has meant a majority of Gaza’s impoverished 1.5 million residents now rely on foreign aid to survive.In January, Palestinian militants blew up large sections of the border fence, sending hundreds of thousands of Gazans pouring into Egypt to stock up on basic goods before Egypt and Hamas resealed the border after nearly two weeks.
“The longer the Israeli blockade lasts, the more you will find weapons, ammunition and drugs. Before, the contraband was more harmless, like food, fuel or cigarettes,” Ali said.
The army officer claimed the new drive against smuggling has meant that not a single weapon has arrived in Gaza via Egypt this year.
“The police regularly find arms caches in the Sinai desert (west of the crossing). (The weapons) never make it as far as the border,” he said. “….
Five Palestinians suffocate to death after Egypt blows up tunnel …Egypt uncovers three smuggling tunnels on border with Gaza
I told the PALESTINIAN THUG at Palestinian pundit, attcking Hamas and Syria evey now and then. Geo-poltics worked with Hizbulla, and against Hamas.
Update from Lucia
Relatives of tunnels’ victims accuse Egyptian security of executing five citizenaccused the Egyptian security forces of deliberately blasting a tunnel on Tuesday while knowing that Palestinians were inside it. …The statement said that it was ironic that those Egyptian forces started looking for bodies after blasting the tunnel…. number of tunnels’ victims thus rose to 45 citizens since the start of 2008, and charged that the Egyptian security was obviously doing all what it could to win Israel’s satisfaction.