Egypt Loses from Gaza's Tunnel Economy

(Asharq Al-Awsat-UK) Ali Ibrahim - Gaza's smuggling economy has now become a billion-dollar industry, with a Hamas government committee overseeing the opening of new passages and the management of tunnels. There are partners on the Egyptian side who bring goods and commodities from Egypt, creating a unique economic partnership where parties on both sides have a keen interest in maintaining the tunnel trade. The tunnels also offer an opportunity to smuggle subsidized Egyptian commodities that are banned from being exported, such as petroleum products or certain food items. On the Egyptian side this represents a constant economic hemorrhage. The tunnels also constitute a security risk to Egypt with Hamas' expanding influence in Sinai, and the rumors of Palestinian militants crossing into Egypt. This explains the recent Egyptian security campaign to demolish the tunnels, a campaign that is now far more proactive than during the Mubarak era.

2013-04-04 00:00:00

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