Smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza
Smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza Reuters

A Palestinian Arab man died after being accidentally electrocuted inside a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and southern Gaza, the Palestinian Authority-based Ma'an news agency reported.

Local sources identified the man as Hamda Madhi, 25, from Khan Yunis. The incident occurred Sunday, according to Ma'an.

Gaza terrorists often use the underground tunnels to smuggle terrorists and weapons from Egypt into the coastal enclave.

These tunnels were a lifeline for Hamas, which collected millions of dollars in taxes and revenues from the smuggled goods. The tunnels continued to thrive after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 and the Islamist Mohammed Morsi won the country's first free presidential election.

Things changed, however, after the Egyptian army ousted Morsi, a key ally of Hamas, in 2013. Since that time, Egypt has been cracking down on the smuggling tunnels as part of an ongoing security campaign in the northern Sinai against terrorists launching attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel.

After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October 2014, the military stepped up the campaign to build a buffer zone along the border, as it accused Hamas of supporting the group that carried out the attack, which Hamas has strenuously denied.

The buffer zone was initially planned to be 500 meters wide, but Egypt later decided to expand it by another 500 meters.