The tunnels are also vital pipelines for the daily goods necessary to keep Gaza’s beleaguered economy running, including construction materials as well as animal feed. “If the crisis in Egypt continues and the tunnels stay closed, we’re in real trouble,” Muhamed Musa, Gaza resident and owner of a farm supply store, told Bloomberg.

Yet, tunnels are not the only passageways being blocked. Following a bombing of Sinai intelligence headquarters, Egyptian forces shut down the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday, stranding thousands of people at one of Gaza’s few above ground openings with the rest of the world. The crossing, which has been opened and closed according to shifting political tides, was initially shut down when the military-backed government first rose to power, then partially reopened for a brief period of time.

The Israeli government has worked closely with the military-backed Egyptian government to build up military presence in the Sinai, adding drone attacks and surveillance to assaults from Egyptian police and military forces, citing threats from ‘militants.’

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Critics say that these developments are deepening the human rights nightmare in Gaza caused by the Israeli blockade. “Close military collaboration between Israel and Egypt has stepped up in aftermath of Egypt’s military coup,” Rubner told Common Dreams. “It is within that context we are seeing tightening of the siege of Gaza.”

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