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Man killed in Gaza tunnel collapse

Sept. 22, 2012 9:22 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 24, 2012 11:37 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man was killed and another injured when a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed on Saturday, medical officials said.

Spokesman for the ministry of health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidrah told Ma'an that Muhammad Ramadan Abu Armaneh, 33, died when the Rafah tunnel collapsed.

Another unidentified man was injured, he added.

Both men were taken to a hospital in Rafah, where Abu Armaneh was pronounced dead.

In early September, Talib Udwan, 24, was killed and another man injured when a smuggling tunnel in Rafah collapsed on them, al-Qidrah said.

Medics say over 160 Palestinians have died in the network of underground tunnels since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006.

Egypt started closing the tunnels after an Aug. 5 attack in Sinai when gunmen killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. Egypt suspects the tunnels were used by some of the militants. Hamas says no-one from Gaza was involved in the attack.

Maher Al-Tabbaa, a Gaza-based economist, said last week that 30 percent of Gaza's goods come from the tunnels. Tunnelers say 80 percent of food sold in Gaza comes through the tunnels.

"If tunnels are closed there will be a complete collapse in Gaza. It would suffer an economic catastrophe," he said.

The tunnels have been used to import anything from food to construction materials, fuel and cars, and militants have also used them to import munitions used to attack Israel, which has targeted some of the tunnels with air strikes.

Reuters contributed to this report
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