Egypt Authorities Flooding Gaza Tunnels to Curb Smuggling

Egyptian authorities have begun flooding some of the tunnels that stretch into the Gaza Strip in an effort to curb smuggling of goods such as diesel and building materials, a security official said.

Authorities have also begun intercepting goods en route to the tunnels that run from the north of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt to the Palestinian territory, Mohamed Saeed, the head of criminal investigations in the area, said by phone today.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers had welcomed the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in June as paving the way for stronger links with the movement, dubbed a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel. An attack on Egyptian border guards last year has partly stifled those hopes, and Mursi has yet to significantly deviate from the policies in place under his ousted predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

Mursi has said Egypt remains committed to the Palestinian quest for independence. Talks paving the way for a possible reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been taking place intermittently in Cairo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at teltablawy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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