A Palestinian cleans a tunnel Tuesday in Rafah, on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip.
The Hamas rulers of Gaza and local smugglers on Tuesday accused Egypt of flooding cross-border tunnels with sewage water in order to halt a thriving smuggling trade that has propped up the local economy for the past five years.
Flooding the dozens of tunnels that run along the short Gaza-Egypt border was a rare act of tension between the Hamas government and their ideological parent, the Muslim Brotherhood, which now dominates Egypt’s government.
The Egyptian effort appears to be aimed at closing down the illegal routes to better control what is going in. It follows an Egyptian-brokered deal that eased Israeli restrictions on building material going into Gaza.
— The Associated Press