Closed Tunnels Plunge Hamas into Financial Crisis

(Der Spiegel-Germany) Theresa Breuer - Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, is dependent on Egypt. It smuggles food, building materials - and weapons - through underground tunnels into Gaza. Since the outbreak of unrest in neighboring Egypt, smuggling activity has come to almost a complete standstill. After several attacks by Islamists on army and police posts in Sinai, Egypt sealed off the border indefinitely. If the delivery of goods via the tunnels is discontinued, it will also spell financial disaster for Hamas, since taxes on smuggled goods account for 40% of its revenue. Hamas Economy Minister Alaa al-Rafati said, "Gaza has lost around $225 million during the past month due to the halt of imports, namely, fuel and crude materials for construction, such as cement, gravel and steel." He also pointed out that 20,000 Palestinian construction workers have lost their jobs in the wake of the building material shortage.

2013-08-02 00:00:00

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