The sources said the Hamas regime approved the sharp increase of tunnels
in wake of the war with Israel in January 2009. They said the number of
tunnels skyrocketed from about 700 to 1,500 over the last eight months.
"Hamas directly controls about 100 tunnels and this supplies the
government and security forces," the Palestinian said. "Whenever they need
something fast, they turn to private tunnel operators."
In August, tunnel operators began smuggling luxury cars from Egypt to
the Gaza Strip. Over the last two months, the sources said, about 100 late
model cars were dismantled in Egypt, transported through the tunnels in
parts and reassembled in the Gaza Strip. The price per car was reported at
The sources said the tunnels marked the largest industry in the Gaza
Strip. They said about 30,000 people were employed in the smuggling
industry, with diggers earning about $30 day.
Egypt and Israel have sought to block the Palestinian tunnel industry.
But the sources said the number of tunnels discovered and destroyed marked a
less than one percent of the smuggling network.