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The New Arab

Seven Hamas members killed after tunnel collapse

A parade in honor of the killed tunnel workers in Gaza today [The New Arab]

Date of publication: 27 January, 2016

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Seven tunnel workers belonging to Hamas have been killed after collapse of a tunnel caused by flooding, the military wing said on Thursday.
Seven members of Hamas have been killed after the collapse of a tunnel in the Gaza Strip caused by rain and flooding, al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of the group, announced on Thursday.

The tunnel collapsed overnight in the area of Jabalia in the north of the Palestinian enclave after several days of rainfall, a security source in the area told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The resistance tunnel collapsed last night due to the weather and flooding," the source said on Wednesday, adding that the tunnel belonged to Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip.

Eleven men were trapped inside the tunnel.  Four managed to escape in the first hours of the incident which killed seven others. 

Such collapses have previously occurred in the coastal strip, which is under an Israeli blockade and has seen three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.

On Saturday, a tunnel collapse killed a 30-year-old man, according to Hamas officials. Residents said the tunnel was located in Al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip.

In December, 14 Palestinians were rescued after being stranded for hours in a tunnel near the Egyptian border when it flooded and partially collapsed.

During a 50-day conflict in 2014, Israeli warplanes destroyed a large part of the underground network of tunnels used by Gazans.

At the end of 2014, Egypt began the construction of a buffer zone in the northern Sinai Peninsula, on the border with Gaza, including destroying hundreds of tunnels it says are used for smuggling weapons.

Sources told The New Arab that tunnel workers have been attempting to save and rienforce the tunnels flooded by Egypt at great risk.

Residents of Rafah have witnessed what they describe as "drainage devices" being used by tunnel workers to dredge the flooded tunnels.

Hamas has also reportedly rebuilt tunnels destroyed in the 2014 conflict that Israeli officials say could be used to carry out attacks.

Israel's blockade severely restricts the movement of people and goods into and out of the enclave.

Egypt's sole border with Gaza has also remained largely closed following the 2013 overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, effectively trapping the 1.8 million Gazans into the territory.


Agencies contributed to this report. 

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