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Egyptian forces thwart fuel smuggling into Gaza

Dec. 7, 2009 5:18 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 8, 2009 11:14 A.M.)
Al-Arish – Ma’an – Egyptian security forces thwarted a diesel smuggling operation and shut down a storehouse containing commercial goods, also prepared for smuggling into the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Egyptian forces stormed a fuel storehouse in the bordering As-Salam neighborhood of Rafah, containing 30,000 liters of diesel which was hidden with the intention of smuggling into Gaza, security sources said.

Diesel smugglers use underground pipes and a generating motor to pump fuel into the Gaza Strip, and therefore, Egyptian security forces search for illegal diesel dens close to the border, the sources added.

The Egyptian forces confiscated the fuel and destroyed it by mixing it with water.

Israeli authorities have restricted the transfer of both domestic gas and industrial fuel into the Gaza Strip for three months, by closing the Nahal Oz fuel pipeline in northern Gaza regularly. This has prompted a critical gas crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip, as bakeries and agricultural greenhouses have been forced to shut down as a result.

The gas crisis has further affected Gaza’s hospitals, with insufficient gas to provide heating for its patients and to sterilize surgical equipment.

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities raided another storehouse in the As-Sarsouriyah border town, confiscating large quantities of cigarettes and mineral water bottles. Sources did not say if these items were confiscated and destroyed like the fuel.
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