Digging for their lives: Tunnels used to bring supplies to Gaza are rebuilt by Palestinians after Egypt’s army destroyed them as retribution for ‘militant attacks’
- Palestinians rebuilding tunnels between Gaza and Egypt destroyed by military last summer
- Egyptian security forces moved in on the tunnel network after the ousting of Mohamed Morsi last year
- The tunnels have been used to smuggle everything from fuel and weapons to KFC bargain buckets into Gaza
A group of Palestinian workers rebuild a tunnel linking the occupied Gaza strip with Egypt after it was destroyed by the latter’s army during a military operation.
More than 1,000 tunnels originally linked the Gaza strip with Egypt, but a majority were destroyed last summer when the Egyptian army conducted several demolition raids following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in July.
Egyptian security authorities say they have closed more tunnels because of militant attacks on Egyptian security forces in the lawless Sinai Peninsula – an allegation the Palestinian movement denies.
From underneath the ground: A group of workers rebuild a tunnel linking Gaza with Egypt which was deliberately collapsed by the Egyptian army during an military operation to destroy the network of smuggling tunnels
Going down the hole: The tunnels have been used to transport everything from weapons to KFC chicken buckets into Gaza from Egypt
Rebuilding: The was allegedly a network of nearly 1,000 tunnels linking Egypt and occupied Gaza, but the Egyptian army conducted several major attacks on the underground connections, destroying them
By August, only a few hundred remained according to Palestinian tunnel operators.
Egyptian security forces moved in with bulldozers and dynamite to demolish the network of tunnels which are used to transfer everything from cheap fuel to weapons and commercial goods such as KFC chicken buckets into the Palestinian territory.
Ashraf, 29, a tunnel owner, said: ‘We are working to fix the tunnel quietly away from Egyptian eyes. There are six workers in the morning and another six continue to work at night under the border with Egypt.
‘They pull out the sand and mud that filled the tunnel using plastic containers pulled out by a machine.’
He says the work is dangerous and that the tunnels can collapse at any moment.
Drilling work: Palestinian tunnel workers take a break on ground level inside a tent govering the entrance to the destroyed smuggling tunnel
Getting back again: The exterior of a destroyed tunnel seen on February 26 in Gaza, Palestinian Territory
Heigh ho: The tunnels are sponsored by the Hamas-run government that seized control over the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seven years ago
The workers are attempting to rebuild the tunnels without being detected by Egyptian authorities, a dangerous job where the roof of the unstable tunnels can collapse at any minute
The tunnels are sponsored by the Hamas-run government that seized control over the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.
They are used to bring fuel, gas, goods, building materials and medicine into the impoverished region.
Abu Mohamed 45, another tunnel owner said: ‘Since the fall of Morsi, the tunnels completely stopped working.
‘I’m here with my workers to try to expand, clean up and fix the tunnels and then dig another entrance in Egypt after the original entrance was destroyed by the Egyptian army.’
However, authorities in Egypt are concerned weapons are being smuggled out of the Strip and used by Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula.
Counter work: Palestinian tunnel workers watch the Egyptian army soldiers destroy their hard work on the other side of the high concrete fences
Cries for help: Palestinian boys hold candles during a vigil against the ongoing blockade and constant power cuts in Gaza on Wednesday
Fuel shortage: A Palestinian boy waits to fill a container for power generator with fuel from a petrol station in Gaza city after thousands of people on both sides have been left stranded following the political turmoil in neighboring Egypt