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Palestinian killed, 3 injured in tunnel collapse in northern Gaza Strip

Sept. 29, 2016 5:42 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 30, 2016 6:45 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian was killed and three others were critically injured when a tunnel between the northern besieged Gaza Strip and Israel collapsed on Thursday afternoon.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra identified the deceased Palestinian as Ahmad Asaad Mayt, 30, saying that he died in a tunnel located near the town of Beit Hanoun.

A number of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave's south and military purposes in the north.

In April and May, Israeli forces claimed to have uncovered the first two tunnels crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel's brutal offensive on Gaza in 2014.

Israeli officials have accused Hamas of "preparing" for another war with Israel and have threatened retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip as a whole. However, despite Hamas' inflammatory rhetoric against Israel, the movement has not officially claimed responsibility for any military action from Gaza against Israel since the 2014 war.

While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons from the south, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gazans -- who have been trapped under Israeli siege for a decade -- including food, medicine, and much-needed infrastructure materials.

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.
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