Israeli warplanes strike Gaza tunnels

Most of the tunnels are used to bring in basic goods like food, livestock.

Updated: Jul 26, 2010, 11:24 AM IST

Gaza City: Israeli planes fired missiles at two smuggling tunnels near the Gaza Strip border with Egypt early Monday, causing damage but no casualties, officials from the Hamas-run security forces said.

The Israeli Army had no immediate comment. Israel has frequently targeted the tunnels in retaliation for rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

The impoverished territory of 1.5 million people has largely relied on the vast network of tunnels on the border since Israel and Egypt sealed Gaza off to all but vital aid in 2006 after militants captured an Israeli soldier.

The Israeli blockade was tightened after the Islamist movement Hamas seized power in June 2007.

Most of the tunnels are used to bring in basic goods like food, household appliances and livestock but Hamas and other militant groups reportedly use their own tunnels to bring in arms and money.

Gaza-based militants fired four rockets into southern Israel over the weekend, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

In December 2008, Israel launched a devastating assault on Gaza in a bid to halt near daily rocket fire from the besieged Palestinian territory.

Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the 22-day war.

After a year of quiet following the assault, Gaza militants have recently stepped up the cross-border rocket fire.

Bureau Report