Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:35 pm (KSA) 16:35 pm (GMT)

Two Palestinians killed in Gaza tunnel cave-in

Both Egypt and Israel have tried to end smuggling into Gaza (File)
Both Egypt and Israel have tried to end smuggling into Gaza (File)

The bodies of two young Palestinian men were recovered Saturday from a collapsed smuggling tunnel between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, medics said.

The young me were aged 20 and 22. The tunnel, one of many linking Egypt's border town of Rafah with the blockaded Palestinian enclave, caved in at the Egyptian end, the official said. The tunnel had been used to smuggle food and fuel, he added.

Egyptian emergency services managed to release three men who had been trapped in another tunnel that had collapsed overnight on the border between Egypt and Gaza, an Egyptian security official said.

The official said the three men have been detained, as has another Palestinian who was captured as he emerged from a second tunnel which was undamaged.

Last week Egyptian police recovered the body of a Palestinian after another Rafah tunnel caved in. More than 50 smugglers died last year in tunnel accidents.

Both Israel and Egypt have tried to end smuggling into Gaza, which has been under a punishing Israeli blockade since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power there in June 2007.

The tunnels are used to transport much needed goods such as food and fuel. Israel says they are also used to smuggle in weapons to militants.

An Egyptian security official told AFP that police had found and destroyed two tunnels south of Rafah on Thursday.

On Tuesday war planes launched a series of strikes on Gaza -- including tunnels -- after militants fired a rocket into the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

The Israeli military says militants have fired more than 200 rockets and mortar rounds since the end of Israel's 22-day offensive against Gaza in January.

More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the war, according to Palestinian figures, while 13 Israelis were killed.

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