Still light at the end of Gaza-Egypt tunnels
Tunnels between Gaza and Egypt used for smuggling goods are partially back to work after moves to close them down last week, BBC Arabic reported on Friday, citing an anonymous security official from Hamas.
The tunnels are used to transfer goods such as fuel, building materials and foodstuffs, as well as people and weaponry.
Last week's move to shut down the tunnels came after 16 Egyptian border guards were killed Sunday by as-yet unidentified assailants in an incident that has intensified security concerns in the Sinai.
An official in North Sinai's Chamber of Commerce who prefers to remain anonymous told Ahram Online that if tunnels were completely controlled by the armed forces then, "we would not feel a fuel shortage in El-Arish and Rafah."
There is now a fuel crisis in these North Sinai cities, proving, the official claimed, that the tunnels are still being used to transport fuel to Gaza.
There are around 1200 illegal tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, act as a lifeline to many living in Gaza due to a longstanding Israeli siege. The Rafah border crossing is the only one not controlled by Israel.
Sinai residents reported to Ahram Online that heavy machinery from the state-owned Arab Contractors Company is being used to destroy the tunnels under the supervision of Egyptian military forces.
Senior Hamas figure and spokesperson Mahmoud Al-Zahar confirmed that the Egyptian military was shutting down the tunnels and would abort any attempt to build new ones.