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Gaza Suffering from Fuel Crisis Due to Campaign against Border Tunnels

People in the Gaza Strip suffer fuel crisis and shortage of raw materials due to the ongoing Egyptian security campaign against the tunnels underneath the border between Egypt and the coastal enclave, a report said.

Over the past three weeks, the amount of fuel brought into Gaza through the cross-border tunnels declined to 50 percent, member in the association of gas station owners in Gaza Mohamed Abadellah told Xinhua.

Abadellah said the coastal enclave will be dragged in a severe fuel crisis if the Egyptian security campaign continues.

Queues of cars waiting for being fueled were seen over the past three days in front of gas stations all over the Gaza Strip, which according to Abadellah need 700,000 liters of fuel every day, with a population of more than 1.7 million.

"Some 200,000 liters of gasoline and 500,000 liters of diesel are needed for cars, engines and electricity generators, as well as homes and hospitals," according to Abadellah.

Also on Sunday, Palestinian owners of smuggling tunnels accused Egypt of flooding the tunnels with waste water, adding that dozens of tunnels became inoperative.

Right after Hamas violently seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007, Israel imposed a tight blockade on the territory, in response to which, Gaza people dug thousands of cross-border tunnels to get their necessities.

Yousef Rezqah, an aide to prime minister of the government in Gaza Ismail Haneya, told Xinhua "We respect the decision of closing down all the tunnels, but at the same time, Egypt has to hurry up in helping Gaza end more than six years of Israeli siege," said Rezqah.

Tunnels under the borderline between Egypt and Gaza are the artery of life for people in the coastal enclave. According to official figures, about 40 percent of Gaza people's needs are brought in through the tunnels despite the" Israeli" relaxation of blockade since 2010.

Maher Tabaa, an official in Gaza Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua "The Egyptian security campaign against the cross-border tunnels would create a severe crisis in the Gaza Strip" if the parties cannot find alternatives immediately, such as opening a commercial crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip and lifting the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza.

M.D

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