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Gaza ministry denies Egypt closed tunnels

Feb. 12, 2013 9:50 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2013 8:05 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza's Ministry of Interior on Tuesday denied reports that Egypt had closed several smuggling tunnels a day earlier, a spokesman said.

Islam Shahwan said in a statement that a network of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border are operating as normal, with the Interior Ministry briefly closing tunnels last week due to adverse weather conditions.

Egyptian security officials said Monday that they had arrested 10 suspected smugglers in Rafah and shut two tunnels used to smuggle goods to the Gaza Strip.

Last November, Egyptian security services said they were planning an "extraordinary" crackdown on smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border.

An official said that the campaign to end smuggling was part of a truce agreement brokered by Cairo to end cross-border violence, which began when Israel assassinated Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari.
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