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Israel warns to destroy Gaza smuggling tunnels
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Palestinian witnesses said Thursday that Israeli aircraft had dropped leaflets on southern Gaza Strip, warning to destroy underground smuggling tunnels that extend out to Egypt.

More than 400 tunnels have been dug recently between Rafah city in southern Gaza Strip and Egypt to be used to smuggle fuel and goods into the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, according to media reports.

Residents of Rafah said that thousands of leaflets were dropped on their border town in the morning hours, which called on the tunnels owners to shut down their underground passages before having them destroyed after a 48-hour deadline.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after Islamic Hamas movement seized control of the territory.

Last week, an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Hamas and Israel expired and Israel restored restrictions to cargo flow into Gaza after it briefly eased the flow during the six-month ceasefire.

The tunnels are used to smuggle a long list of products, starting from fuel and cooking gas to mobile phones.

(Xinhua News Agency December 25, 2008)

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