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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
[Press release or reality?] Official: Egypt to crack down on Gaza tunnels

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Is there really a crackdown? It should be noted
that previous reports of crackdowns all turned out to be mostly just talk.]

Official: Egypt to crack down on Gaza tunnels
Published yesterday (updated) 28/11/2012 19:50
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=543063

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian security services are planning an
"extraordinary" crackdown on smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border, a
security source said Wednesday.

The Egyptian security official said tunnels were operating at 5 percent of
previous levels, and were mostly smuggling construction material to Gaza.

Israel bombarded the tunnels area in the southern Gaza Strip during its
eight-day war which ended with a ceasefire on Nov. 24.

The official said Egypt's planned campaign to end smuggling was part of the
truce agreement brokered by Cairo.

Israel bans the import of construction materials for the private sector in
Gaza, so residents seeking to rebuild their destroyed homes and businesses
are reliant on building materials smuggled through tunnels.

According to Israeli NGO Gisha, around 47 percent of civilian goods entering
Gaza arrive through the tunnels, including cement, snack foods, spare parts,
electronic equipment and fuel.

Since 2007, Israel has closed three out of four crossings to deliver goods
to Gaza, leaving only Kerem Shalom open.

"Despite the fact that the capacity of this crossing has been increased, it
cannot meet the needs that would arise if the tunnels were to close and
Rafah Crossing were to remain closed for the transport of commercial goods
and fuel," Gisha says.

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