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Hamas fighter killed in week's 2nd deadly tunnel collapse

Feb. 9, 2016 5:51 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 29, 2016 5:02 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Hamas fighter was killed Tuesday when a tunnel collapsed in the southern Gaza Strip, Hamas' military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement.

The military wing identified the fighter as 27-year-old Marwan Barham Marouf from Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

During the past two weeks, the group has reported at least ten other deaths in three separate tunnel collapses.

Gaza's 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 tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gaza's 1.8 million residents under the blockade, including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials like concrete and fuel.

Hamas claims to have rebuilt many of the tunnels that were destroyed during 2014's devastating war with Israel. Last week, the Israeli authorities threatened to seal crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip due to recent Hamas activity.
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