At least three Palestinians died inside a smuggling tunnel between Gaza and Egypt after the Egyptian army pumped toxic gas into the tunnel, according to reports by Israeli and Palestinian media. The tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor along the Egypt-Gaza border are used by the Palestinians to smuggle various items into the Gaza strip.
To bypass the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and Gaza, the Palestinians use the tunnels to smuggle food, fuel, arms and ammunition into the Hamas ruled Gaza strip. The tunnel which was targeted by the Egyptian army stretches from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt to the Gaza Strip. The victims in the incident were workers working in the tunnel. Sources in Gaza said that they have lost contact with the workers in the tunnel.
However, this is not the first time the smuggling tunnels have been attacked by Egypt. In 2010, Egyptian forces had pumped gas into one of such tunnels, killing 4 Palestinians and injuring 9. In 2009, Egypt had started building a steel barrier along the 4 km border with Gaza to stop the smuggling tunnels.
Hamas maintains an extensive network of tunnels along the borders of Gaza strip, which are known as “Hamas Metro”. In May this year, Israel had bombed several tunnels on the Israel-Gaza border in retaliation to rocket bombings in Israel by Hamas.