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Monday, September 12, 2011     GET REAL

Post-Mubarak Egypt, Hamas agree to cooperate on smuggling tunnels

GAZA CITY — Egypt and Hamas have reached an agreement on the flow of people and goods.


Hamas security sources said the Islamic regime has arranged for cooperation with Egypt on border security, Middle East Newsline reported. The sources said the cooperation would focus on monitoring the flow of people and goods from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.

The sources said the accord reflected growing security and political cooperation between Egypt and Hamas in wake of the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February. They said the new military regime in Egypt, urged by the Muslim Brotherhood, has been willing to ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

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"The agreement means that Hamas will relay data on all smuggling activities," a security source said.

The sources said Hamas agreed to close many of the 1,500 tunnels that span the 14-kilometer Sinai-Gaza border. They said Egypt has consented to maintain several dozen tunnels to ensure the flow of vital goods from Sinai to the Gaza Strip.

The agreement included a Hamas commitment to relay the names of those who enter or leave the Gaza Strip through the tunnel network. The sources said Hamas has also pledged to reinforce its security presence in southern Gaza, the venue of the tunnels.

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