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2 Hamas fighters die in tunnel collapse in Gaza

Sept. 15, 2017 2:29 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 15, 2017 5:18 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades -- the Hamas movement's military wing --died in a tunnel collapse on Friday, according to the group.

A statement by the brigades identified the two fighters as Khalil Bassem al-Dumyati from the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip, and Yousif Sabri Abu Abed, from the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis.

The brigades did not provide further details on the circumstances of the tunnel collapse, saying only that the tunnel was located around Gaza City.

Scores 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 south and military purposes in the north.

While the tunnels along the southern border with Egypt are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, 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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