Former Egyptian Electricity Minister Osama Kamal has appeared happy on a local Egyptian television network, rejoicing: "We succeeded in closing the only electricity plant in Gaza."
Speaking to a talk show on Egyptian Al-Hayat TV, Kamal attributed the news to "the great [and] successful efforts of the Egyptian army in Sinai."
He said that the Egyptian army could only stop the smuggling of Egyptian diesel and gasoline to the Gaza Strip after "strictly closing the tunnels."
The former minister said that the electricity plant in Gaza consumes about two million litres of diesel and gasoline each month, but clarified that most of that quantity used to be smuggled in from Egypt. "We could stop it three days ago," he said.
He accused Hamas officials in Gaza of cooperating with Muslim Brotherhood officials in Egypt to operate the smuggling tunnels. He accused Muslim Brotherhood officials in Egypt of holding "sensitive" positions in the government that helped them facilitate smuggling to Gaza.
Hamas banned the smugglers who run the tunnels before the siege was tightened. Later on they were allowed to smuggle food, fuel, medicines and other vital commodities.
The Palestinian government in Gaza, run by Hamas since 2007, has been calling upon regional and international bodies to put pressure on Israel to lift the siege so that it can put sanctions on smuggling activities.