Palestinians rescued from drowning in destroyed Gaza tunnel

Palestinians rescued from drowning in destroyed Gaza tunnel
A group of tunnel workers have been rescued from a tunnel in Rafah after Egypt pumped sea water through it, while the search continues for an eighth missing operative.
2 min read
10 March, 2016
The Gaza tunnels have been a lifeline for the besieged coastal strip [AFP]
Three tunnel workers in Rafah, Gaza, were rescued on Thursday morning after Egypt flooded a tunnel in which they were working. Efforts continue to rescue a remaining four workers.

Security sources told Palestinian news agencies that the workers were in a tunnel in the Southern Gaza strip when the Egyptian army pumped sea water into the underground passage.

According to local news agencies, rescue efforts managed to save the lives of several of the men, despite a lack of equipment, while four man remain missing.

Despite Egypt's systematic attempts to destroy the tunnels in Gaza, many Palestinians have continued to carry out increasingly perilous work underground to attempt to smuggle goods into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Dozens of tunnel workers have been killed in tunnel collapses in the past two months due to Egyptian attempts to destroy the network of passages beneath the border.

During previous conflicts with Israel, Hamas forces used the tunnels to smuggle weapons - yet the tunnels have also been a vital source of basic goods.

In late 2014, Egypt began setting up a buffer zone on its border with Gaza, and destroyed hundreds of the tunnels.

In September 2015, Egyptian forces carried out digging work that led to the flooding of the last remaining tunnels in that area.