[QODLink]
Middle East

Egypt tunnel closure costs Gaza millions

Egypt military's decision to stop tunnel crossings is losing the strip $230 million each month.

Last Modified: 27 Oct 2013 23:55
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Egypt's military began destroying the tunnels after the removal of its president [Reuters]

Egypt's closure of tunnels used to smuggle goods into the Gaza strip has caused monthly losses of $230 million to its economy, a Hamas official has said.

The "closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors" of about $230 million monthly, said Hatem Oweida, deputy economy minister for Hamas, which governs the strip.

Essential materials were for years smuggled from Egypt into Gaza through tunnels, bypassing Israel's siege, but the Egyptian army recently destroyed many of those after removing president Mohamed Morsi, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Hamas ally.

Oweida said Gaza had relied on the tunnels to meet at least 40 percent of its construction supplies and raw material needs.

Gaza's unemployment rate would hit 43 percent if official border crossings remained shut and the tunnels were destroyed, Oweida added.

He added that "public revenues saw a decline after the closure of the tunnels and the tightening of the siege in the second half of 2013," which he said would hit Hamas' employment and temporary work programmes.

Israel first imposed its land, sea and air blockade on the coastal strip in 2006 after fighters there seized an Israeli soldier.

It was further tightened in mid-2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza.

213

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.