The Minister of National Economy in the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip has said that losses in the besieged territory have exceeded $250 million as a result of the Egyptian campaign to tighten the siege. Dr Alaa Al-Rafati told local media that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has entered a "critical and dangerous phase" because Egypt has closed the Rafah border crossing and is destroying the tunnels described by many observers as a "lifeline" for the Palestinians.
According to Dr Al-Rafati, the Egyptian army has destroyed nearly 126 border tunnels which have been used to get essential goods and medicines into Gaza. The destruction is having a massive impact on health and the environment in the Strip.
However, the minister predicted that the campaign will fail to achieve its goal. "People will find a way through, just as they have in the past," he insisted. "As long as the official channels are closed to us for importing even basic necessities, tunnels will be dug and used."
Dr Al-Rafati called on Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing and allow the movement of people and goods through it in order to alleviate the effects of the Israeli-led siege which has been in place for 7 years.