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Medics: Man suffocates in Gaza tunnel

May 17, 2012 9:18 A.M. (Updated: May 18, 2012 7:27 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man died on Thursday after suffocating in a smuggling tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, medics said.

Jihad Barakeh, 18, was pronounced dead upon arrival at a Gaza hospital, having been pulled out of a tunnel by other workers.

Since Israel tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007, goods smuggled in from Egypt through underground tunnels have provided a lifeline to the coastal enclave.

Under siege, Gaza's economy collapsed and a 2011 UN study found that unemployment rates in Gaza were among the highest in the world.

Gaza officials say over 160 young men have died at work in smuggling tunnels, but with a lack of alternatives many are still drawn to the hazardous profession.
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