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Palestinian man dies in smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza

Oct. 10, 2016 2:41 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 10, 2016 6:18 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man died after being accidentally electrocuted inside a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and the southern besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday.

Local sources identified the man as Hamda Madhi, 25, from Khan Yunis.

Palestinians in Gaza have relied on underground smuggling tunnels across the Egyptian border since 2007, when Israel imposed a crippling military blockade on the coastal enclave after Hamas took control there.

Until the July 2013 ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the small Palestinian territory.

Since Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi came to power, however, Egypt has strictly enforced the blockade and flooded hundreds of the tunnels as part of an ongoing security campaign in the northern Sinai Peninsula against anti-regime militants launching attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel.

Egypt accuses Hamas of supporting the insurgents, allegations Hamas strongly denies.

Human Rights Watch slammed Egypt's military for its campaign against the tunnels in 2015, during which the group said some 3,200 families had been evicted from their homes near the border and hundreds of acres of farmland destroyed.

The group said Egypt had failed to provide adequate proof that insurgents were receiving support from the Gaza Strip.

The UN reported in February that only a few tunnels remained partially operational between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
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