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Hamas Shuts Gaza Smuggling Tunnels


Hamas ordered all smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt to be immediately closed, cutting the flow of critical goods into the Gaza strip.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, temporarily shut the tunnels at Egypt's urging, after Israel warned tourists in the Sinai peninsula to immediately leave because of a terrorist plot to kidnap Israelis.

Security officials say Israel warned that the tunnels could be used in the kidnapping plot. The Associated Press quoted a Hamas official who said Gaza leaders feared Israel could launch new airstrikes on the tunnels.

Israel and Egypt sealed their borders with the Gaza Strip in 2007 to prevent Hamas militants from getting weapons. But the blockades also have slowed efforts to rebuild Gaza and prevented Palestinians from accessing basic necessities. Smugglers have skirted the blockade by bringing in goods through the tunnels.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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