Egypt’s closure of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula is costing Hamas $230 million in lost revenue a month, a senior officialin the terrorist organization said.
An IDF soldier pictured in 2006 at a tunnel uncovered during an Israeli counter-terrorism operation designated to thwart weapons smuggling from Egypt to Gaza through the Philadelphia Route, in southern Gaza. Credit: Israeli Defense Forces.
The “closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to
the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors of around $230 million monthly,” said Hatem Oweida, Hamas’ deputy economic
minister, AFP reported.
Since taking control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has used
the smuggling tunnels to transfer economic goods, as well as weapons and rockets, into the territory. Hamas officials use the smuggling tunnels to generate tax
However, Egypt’s military backed government has
accused Hamas of supporting terrorists in the Sinai and has launched a campaign
to destroy the tunnels. Last month, Egypt said it shut
down over 130 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Meanwhile, Israel recently uncovered a massive
tunnel stretching from southern Gaza to Israel’s Eshkol region.
Israel fears that other tunnels could exist and be used to
kidnap soldiers or carry out terrorist attacks inside of Israel.