The New York Times reports: On a humid night in Rafah recently, six Palestinian smugglers sat around a backyard table, ticking off the damage that Egypt has done to their tunnels over the past two years.
It dropped dynamite and floated poison gas into them. It filled them with sewage.
Last year, it took the extraordinary step of razing more than 3,000 homes on its side of the border to create a buffer zone that would seal off access to the tunnels, creating a humanitarian catastrophe in the process.
Now, the smugglers fear that Egypt has settled on a strategy that could spell doom for their trade: flooding the tunnels so they collapse. Within the past month, Egypt has flooded part of the nine-mile border area twice, causing two tunnels to cave in completely and damaging 10 or so more.
Only about 20 of 250 tunnels are still operating — the worst situation smugglers can remember. They find themselves waiting nervously for the flooding to begin again. [Continue reading…]