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Under Gaza: Tunneling Through Sand for Food, Weapons, Oil

Gaza residents are tunneling through sand, in their latest attempt to withstand the Israeli blockade of the region. Israel has shut off access to the Gaza strip, in response to attacks and in an attempt to put pressure on Hamas.

The tunnels bring electricity, phone lines, cigarettes, food, petrol, and weapons. The more secretly located Hamas-controlled tunnels carry weapons of unknown caliber. The tunnelers, or "snake heads," give the local authorities a cut of their contraband profits, to help them look the other way.

The intricate tunnel networks are no secret to Israeli officials, who have implored Egypt to do more to end their existence. But according to reports, Egypt does pump water or worse, poisonous gas, through discovered tunnels, with deadly results. Just last week one tunnel did collapse, perhaps due to Egyptians pumping in water to weaken it. A man died during the collapse and had to be dragged out of the tunnels by his feet, 24 hours later.

One of the "snake heads" says, "constructing them is the worst job in the world," but the money keeps many going until they perish. Do tunnelers dig and transport at their own risk, or does Israel's policy bear some responsibility for the deaths that result from trying to secure essentials like food and electricity?


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