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Amid crackdown, tunnel smuggling is risky business in Gaza

As the Egyptian army intensifies its campaign to destroy the border tunnels from southern Gaza, many still rely on smuggling goods for work, as no better jobs are available.
Tunnel workers work inside a smuggling tunnel dug beneath the Gaza-Egypt border in the southern Gaza Strip October 8, 2013. Hamas is struggling to meet its payroll in the Gaza Strip, where income from taxes has been badly hit since neighbouring Egypt started destroying a network of tunnels used to smuggle food, fuel and weapons into the Islamist-run enclave. Picture taken October 8, 2013.
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RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Since former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in June 2013, the Egyptian military has been trying to eliminate the smuggling tunnels beneath the border in the southern Gaza Strip, destroying them and expanding the buffer zone.

Some of these tunnels are still functioning — cautiously, given the enormous risks such as the eroding soil inside the structures, the strict surveillance on smugglers and the gas bombs used against them. These tunnels remain the only way to bring goods into Gaza that are banned by Israel from entering through Gaza’s only commercial crossing, the Kerem Shalom crossing. Tunnel smuggling is also a way to evade new taxes imposed by Hamas on goods imported through Kerem Shalom.

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