Gazan Civil Defense rescue team say that at least 14 Palestinians have gone missing after Egyptian military forces flooded a smuggling tunnel with seawater.
Muhammad al-Meidana, a Civil Defense official, told Ma’an news that rescue teams had been able to save the lives of seven tunnel workers, but that contact was lost with 14 others, who were now missing.
Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel and Egypt imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007.
While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply necessary goods for Gazans including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.
Egypt has sought to destroy the tunnels as part of an ongoing security campaign in the northern Sinai against anti-regime militants, which Egypt accuses Hamas of supporting, although Hamas strongly denies the accusations.
The regime in Egypt has a good cooperation with the Israeli government on security issues.