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Hamas fighter killed in tunnel accident in Gaza

Aug. 29, 2015 7:47 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2015 9:31 P.M.)
A Palestinian man smuggles fuel through a tunnel in the Rafah refugee camp along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip on Nov. 16, 2008. (AFP/ Said Khatib, File)
GAZA (Ma'an) -- The military wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, said Saturday that one of its members had been killed in a tunnel accident in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the group identified the dead man as Anwar Faraj al-Ghalban, 23, from Khan Younis. The statement did not specify how or where the accident took place.

Al-Qassam Brigades said in the statement that they would spare no effort in their resistance to Israel and would keep fighting to "free Palestine."

They said that their members were doing their best despite difficult circumstances to make preparations, including by digging tunnels, to fight the Israeli occupation.

Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt.

A number of fighters in Gaza have been killed by accidents during military training exercises in recent years, and the tunnel networks, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave's south and military purposes in the north, are notoriously dangerous.

The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, Al Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400.

While the southern tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gaza's residents under the blockade, including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.
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