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Official: Smugglers resume fuel supplies to Gaza

July 7, 2013 3:11 P.M. (Updated: July 8, 2013 8:52 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Smugglers resumed pumping fuel to the Gaza Strip through tunnels under the Egyptian border on Sunday, easing a fuel crisis in the enclave, an official said.

Muhammad al-Abadlah, a spokesman for the federation of fuel companies, told Ma'an that enough fuel was being smuggled in to partially meet needs in Gaza.

Meanwhile government official Abdul-Nasser Muhanna said the fuel crisis would be resolved soon.

Muhanna, an official in the general petroleum department, did not give any details on the source of the fuel.

Egypt's crackdown on smuggling tunnels created a crippling fuel crisis in recent days, causing long queues at gas stations across Gaza.

The health ministry in Gaza warned Saturday that hospitals' fuel reserves were down to 20 percent.

Egypt continued to close smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border on Sunday.

Egypt's army used sand to seal several smuggling tunnels near the Brazil neighborhood, a Ma'an reporter said.

An Egyptian military official told Ma'an that soldiers seized seven boxes of ammunition at a tunnel opening in the al-Barahmeh neighborhood of Rafah on Sunday. He added that the army had deployed to the area to stop people entering through tunnels.

The official said Egypt's army was preparing for a major operation in Sinai following a series of militant attacks in the peninsula after the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday.

Egyptian soldiers and armored vehicles have deployed heavily along the Gaza border for two weeks.
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