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Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 09:32 UK

Five killed in Gaza tunnel blast

Rafah smugglers' tunnel
The border between Gaza and Egypt is riddled with smugglers' tunnels

Five Palestinian smugglers died when Egyptian forces blew up two contraband tunnels beneath the Egypt-Gaza border, Palestinian medics say.

Two bodies were found immediately after the overnight blast at Rafah, which straddles the heavily guarded border; three more were dug up in the morning.

Egyptian officials have not commented on the incident.

Reports say it brings to 45 the number of deaths in 2008 in tunnel accidents and anti-smuggling operations.

map

The sandy ground under the border between Egypt and Gaza is riddled with tunnels, and smuggling is one of the few ways of getting goods into the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Israel has been pressing Egypt to block off the tunnels because of concern that they are used to smuggle weapons to the militant Islamic group Hamas.

Israel, with Egypt's support, has enforced a blockade of Gaza since Hamas's violent take-over of the territory in June 2007.

It has allowed in little more than basic humanitarian aid as a way of isolating Hamas and stopping militant groups from firing rockets into Israel.


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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Los Angeles Times Egypt destroys tunnel under border with Gaza - 27 hrs ago
Boston GlobeTroops sent to halt Mafia violence - 28 hrs ago
Daily Telegraph Australia Palestinians die in border tunnel blasts - 35 hrs ago
Washington Post2 bodies recovered from Gaza-Egypt tunnel - 35 hrs ago
Haaretz Five Palestinians killed after Egyptian forces detonate smuggling tunnels - 36 hrs ago
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