Besieged Gazans start repairing lifeline tunnels

Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has turned tunnels into a business.

Besieged Gazans start repairing lifeline tunnels
Hundreds of Palestinians came to the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt on Thursday to try to repair "life" tunnels bombed by Israel during a 22-day offensive and restore a commercial lifeline to the territory under heavy siege.

Residents along the border, where some Palestinians own tunnels and run them as businesses, said shipments of fuel and kerosene stoves had already been moving through the several dozen tunnels, out of hundreds, that can function despite bombings.

Tunnel-owner Mohammed said he and three partners had paid $40,000 to build their supply line.

"Soon it will be operational, I will not bring drugs or weapons, I plan to use it to bring in what people need most -- food and fuel, and that is very profitable," he said.

Israeli troops said it pulled out of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, three days after separate ceasefires declared by Israel and Hamas went into effect.

Repair work

In the southern town of Rafah, hundreds of Palestinians began repair work under the cover of tents.

Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has turned tunnels into a business.

"We have to make a living. We are still young and we have no other job except in the tunnels," said an 18-year-old tunnel owner, who gave his name only as Mohammed.

Using pulleys, workers pulled generators out of collapsed shafts covered by sand. Trucks carried away damaged caravans. Once fixed, they will be returned to digging sites and used by labourers taking a break.

"Let them open the crossings and we will quit this work," said tunnel owner Abu Al-Bara.

Agencies
Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2009, 16:26
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