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2 tunnel workers killed in Rafah

March 16, 2011 9:43 A.M. (Updated: March 17, 2011 9:28 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The explosion of a gas canister in a smuggling tunnel beneath the Egypt-Gaza border caused a mass collapse Tuesday night, killing two and injuring four.

Civil Defense crews evacuated the men, and medics pronounced two dead on Wednesday morning.

Four others were evacuated to hospital in Rafah. The dead were identified as As’ad Al-Qidra and Muhammad Lashein, both from Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip.

With all commercial crossings into Gaza closed except for the southernmost Kerem Shalom terminal, which remains strictly controlled by Israel under its terms of siege, the tunnels provide a vital access point for goods that remain prohibited, like medications and building materials.

Since January, the tunnels have been the sole means of import for the Gaza Power Plant, which imports its fuel from Egypt and provides power to two thirds of Gaza residents.
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