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Official: Man killed, 2 injured in Rafah tunnel collapse

Sept. 26, 2012 9:50 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 26, 2012 10:00 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man was killed and two others injured when a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed on Wednesday, medical officials said.

Suleiman Ramadan al-Masri, 20, died and two men were moderately wounded when the Rafah tunnel collapsed, spokesman of Gaza health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an.

Both injured men were transferred to hospital.

Last Saturday, Muhammad Ramadan Abu Armaneh, 33, died when a Rafah tunnel collapsed on him. In early September, Talib Udwan, 24, was killed in a similar incident.

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.
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