Three Palestinians Die After Inhaling Poisonous Gas in Gaza Tunnel

Hamas condemns Egypt for filling tunnels in gas when demolishing them, calls on Cairo to open Rafah crossing.

Gaza smuggling tunnel - AP
A smuggling tunnel in the Gaza Strip, 2008. AP

Three Palestinian workers suffocated to death after inhaling poisonous gas while attempting to repair a Gaza Strip tunnel on Friday.

The Egyptian army had earlier reported that it operated on the Egyptian side of Rafah, on the Gaza border, to demolish tunnels. Hamas condemned the Egyptian army's behavior, saying that its actions fill the tunnels with gas, and called on Egyptian authorities to "open the Rafah crossing regularly to ease [the situation] of the Strip's residents in light of Israel's blockade."  

Since Egypt began flooding the smuggling tunnels into the Gaza Strip in 2015, both workers and Hamas operatives have been killed in collapses of attack tunnels. In February 2016, nine Hamas members were killed in the collapse of two tunnels in the center of the Strip and in eastern Gaza City.

At the beginning of February, the Palestinian Health Ministry said that two Palestinians were killed and another five were wounded in an Israeli attack on a tunnel used to pass goods between Egypt and the Strip. The IDF denied attacking the area, and hours later Al Jazeera reported that the Egyptian army was behind the attack.