Two Palestinians die in tunnels following Israeli airstrikes

17:53, September 30, 2009      

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Two Palestinian smugglers died Wednesday morning when a tunnel collapsed under the border between Gaza and Egypt hours after an Israeli air raid on the area, witnesses and hospital officials said.

At dawn, Israeli F-16 jets dropped three bombs on the Palestinian side of the border wall, destroying three underground tunnels that the Palestinians use to bring in goods from Egypt, the witnesses said.

Following the raid, a group of smugglers went to their tunnels to repair damage, but got stuck beneath sand.

Medical sources said the two smugglers died by suffocation, while eight of their co-workers arrived to the hospital suffering various types of injuries.

Tens of Palestinians were killed while working in the tunnels since Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Israel says some of the tunnels are used to import arms for Islamic Hamas movement which has been controlling the coastal Strip for more than two years.

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