Hamas blames Egypt for “gassing” a tunnel

Posted: April 30, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Egypt, Gaza, Hamas, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism
Tags: ,

An explosion in Gaza A recent explosion in one of the tunnels from Egypt to Gaza killed four Palestinians inside it, and injured several others, according to Palestinian reports. This time, however, Hamas alleges it wasn’t merely a work accident:

A Hamas security official in charge of the tunnel area along the border said the Egyptians filled the passage with some type of crowd dispersal gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name.

The Hamas Interior Ministry later said in a statement the gas used to try to clear the tunnel was poisonous. Besides those killed, six people were injured, it said.

"The Interior Ministry confirms that the citizens’ cause of death was the Egyptian security forces spraying poison gasses into one of the tunnels," the statement said without elaborating.

(Ynet)

HAMAS OFFICIALS LATER demanded explanations from Egyptian authorities and to hold accountable those responsible for the alleged crime. Egypt, however, fiercely denied the allegations:

An Egyptian intelligence official has denied allegations that Egypt pumped gas into a cross-border tunnel used to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip, killing four Palestinians.

The official said Thursday that security forces blew up the entrances to several tunnels earlier this week.

He said Egypt routinely blows up the entrances to seal the tunnels off. He said fires sparked by such explosions could use up all the oxygen in the tunnel and people caught inside could suffocate.

(Associated Press)

Usually, the explosion wouldn’t receive much attention, but nowadays Hamas struggles hard with Egypt over waning control of the border. With Egyptian forces doing their utmost to lock down the border – including construction of their own separation barrier, which includes an underground section – Hamas officials feel the pinch.

The sad truth of the situation, however, is this: if Hamas wouldn’t execute its rivals and ruled according to election results, Gaza would not be under a blockade and Gazans could have free access to any goods necessary, without the need of smuggler services.

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