x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Tunnel collapse kills 5 Palestinians

An explosion collapses a tunnel running under the Gaza Strip and Egypt, killing five Palestinians.

Gaza security officials say five bodies have been pulled from a tunnel blown up by Egyptian authorities along the Gaza-Egypt border. The officials say the men are Palestinian smugglers who were bringing contraband goods from Egypt into Gaza. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not been cleared for publication. "The bodies of three other Palestinians were found buried in the tunnel during the night," said an official in Rafah's Abu Yusuf al Najah hospital in Rafah. The bodies of two other people were found immediately after the blast ripped through tunnel located in Rafah, which straddles the border.

Earlier medics said at least four people were injured in the explosion. Several Palestinians have died in similar incidents in recent months in the tunnels, which are used to smuggle arms, fuel and other supplies into Gaza. The impoverished coastal strip has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since the Islamist Hamas movement, which is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, seized power in June 2007.

*AFP and AP