Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with the southern Gaza

Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with the southern Gaza

The importance of the buffer zone expansion is becoming clear in light of the armed forces’ announcement on March 29 of the discovery of a secret tunnel connecting Gaza to Sinai and stretching along 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles) into Egyptian territory. This tunnel is the longest tunnel yet to be discovered by the armed forces.

Nasser Khaled, an infrastructure expert and soil mechanical engineer, told Al-Monitor that digging such a tunnel requires modern equipment and a large number of workers to dig either in rocks or loose land. He said the process takes four to five months, while the average cost of the required equipment is no less than about 10 million Egyptian pounds ($1.3 million).

Khaled said that most of the manufacturers of such equipment do not authorize sales except to states and major engineering and construction companies. He added that the primitive or manual drilling of such tunnels may take years.

Amr Radwan, an infrastructure expert and soil mechanical engineer told Al-Monitor that it is difficult to determine how long it takes to dig such a tunnel unless the nature of the used equipment is identified and the number of workers as well as the specifications of the rocks and soil are known. He said those operations are risky because of loose rocks where drilling could lead to the quick collapse of a tunnel.

The information about the costly equipment, the fact that they are only sold to specific parties and the importance of identifying the nature of the rocks before drilling are factors that indicate that construction companies or experts may be secretly supporting the drilling operations.

Major construction companies in the Gaza Strip have faced difficulties after the Egyptian authorities tightened their control over the tunnels, after the ousting of Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 and the intensification of the terror attacks in Sinai, through which a large proportion of building materials would enter the country. This led in January 2014 to the closing of about 280-300 companies and factories amid a blockade imposed by Israeli forces on the entry of construction materials into the Gaza Strip.

Source

Hamas accelerates its tunnel-building

Hamas accelerates its tunnel-building

Bulldozers hard at work in new upsurge; terror group also manufacturing short-range rockets, which proved murderously effective last summer

Hamas has begun using heavy machinery and engineering tools to accelerate the excavation of attack tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip under the Israeli border, sources in the Palestinian enclave told the Times of Israel Wednesday.

The equipment, the sources said, includes small bulldozers with the ability to maneuver in tight spaces. From the Israeli side of the border, larger tractors are clearly visible above the ground as the machines prepare the tunnel entries.

The Gaza-based terrorist organization has been using whatever cement it can get its hands on for the construction of the tunnels, and fortifying the walls of its underground structures with wood as well.

Israeli security officials confirmed the reports from Gaza, adding that Hamas was making great efforts to dig the tunnels at high speed.

The officials also said the terror organization was attempting to produce as many short-range rockets as possible, after noting that these projectiles were less likely to be downed by the Iron Dome defense system and could therefore cause substantial damage on the Israeli side.

A report in the Telegraph earlier this month said Iran was transferring tens of millions of dollars to Hamas to rebuild its underground infrastructure and replenish its rocket arsenal. Israeli security sources in March said that Hamas has invested considerable effort in digging a new tunnel network within the coastal enclave, as well as several tunnels meant for eventual cross-border attacks. But according to those sources, the terror organization was being careful to avoid crossing into Israeli soil, in order to avoid an eruption of hostilities.

Meanwhile, the physical and economic situation of Gaza’s residents hasn’t changed much. Heavy rains earlier this week left several main streets in the Strip flooded. Temporary housing units for refugees who fled their homes after this past summer’s war between Israel and Hamas were flooded as well. The Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt remains shut, and the ongoing wage crisis involving Hamas and the Palestinian Authority has not been resolved. The general reconstruction of Gaza continues to be delayed, and the rebuilding of 17,000 houses to replace the those destroyed during Operation Protective Edge has not yet started either.
Source

Egypt introduces life in jail as penalty for tunnelling

Egypt introduces life in jail as penalty for tunnelling

The sound of crickets, tumbleweed rolling by.. Far away a raven calls. The sound of silence as the oh so committed to gaza international community ignores these extremely harsh measures whilst decrying to high heaven the legitimate self defense of Israel against same tunnels….

Hypocrisy exemplified. You’ve lost all credibility if even you had any.

An amendment to the Egyptian penal code imposing life in jail for builders or users of cross-border tunnels has been ordered by presidential decree. The penalty also applies to people with knowledge of tunnels who fail to report them to the authorities. The Egyptian government was authorized to seize buildings at the top of tunnels and any equipment for digging them. Cairo hopes to deter the building of tunnels running between the Gaza Strip and Sinai which are used for the transfer of illegal arms, equipment and terrorist manpower.

Source
 

Gaza’s weight-loss centers

Gaza’s weight-loss centers

It’s often been observed that the cisjordanians and gazans have some the highest living standards in the middle east amongst the islam peoples. Now it’s coming to the point obesity in gaza rises enormously. It’s clear that the myth of the ‘starving gazan’s’ has been definitively debunked.

Gaza’s weight-loss centers

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Mona Hussein’s diabetes and hypertension, acquired during a pregnancy two years ago, have pushed her to see a dietitian. Her social life has deteriorated due to her obesity, as she now weighs 95 kilograms (209 pounds).

Hussein, 30, told Al-Monitor, “My desire to wear a smaller size has increased my excitement. I want to participate in all social occasions without being ashamed [of my body]. Not to mention the awkward situations I found myself in and the criticism against my figure that worsened due to my excessive weight.”

Though Mona was concerned about the possible repercussions of a diet on her health, she found a doctor who has helped her adopt a diet to help her lose weight in a healthy fashion. She believes she has made the right choice.

Samah Khaled, 26, from Gaza City, believes that her excess weight has stood in the way of her finding a husband, so five months ago she consulted a dietitian and has now lost over 40 kilograms (88 pounds).

“In an attempt to change my social life and enter a new phase, especially since most of my friends are now married, I decided to resort to a dietitian to lose weight and have a better figure. I was more convinced by the idea of diets after meeting women who lost a large part of their body weight,” she explained.

Samah said that her psychological state has improved since her weight loss, as have her chances at finding a husband.

Obesity has become prevalent in the Gaza Strip, as confirmed by the increasing demand on dietitians. Ata Qaisi, health care consultant and owner of Gaza City’s Diet Center, said obesity can have negative repercussions on a person’s life, making him or her more vulnerable to hypertension, diabetes and joint pain. Obese women are also more susceptible to pregnancy complications and miscarriages, according to Qaisi.

 

Source