National Geographic : 2012 Dec
• the well was lled in. He then ordered Paolo and me to go, saying we'd have to get permission from the central government in Gaza City if we intended to come back. "Don't go into the tun- nels," another cop warned. "You'll die." In the tunnels death comes from every direc- tion. One operator told of the time he tried to smuggle in a lion for a Gaza zoo. e animal was improperly sedated, awoke in the tunnel mid-trip, and tore one of the workers apart. An- other operator showed me a video on his mobile phone of three skinny young men lying dead on gurneys. ey were his cousins, he said, and had worked in his tunnel. I asked why they had no contusions or broken limbs. " ey were gassed," was the reply. According to some Palestinians, when Egypt has been pressed by Israel to cut down on smuggling, its troops have occasionally poisoned the air in tunnels by pumping in gas. Egypt has denied this. with assorted o ces, we returned to the tunnel corridor. Word had spread that an American reporter was snooping around, and even with our o cial escort, many operators shunned us. But some warmed up. e most welcoming was Abu Jamil, a white- haired grandfather and the uno cial mukhtar of the Philadelphi corridor. Abu Jamil is credited with having opened the rst full-time tunnel. It quickly attracted too much business to be ser- viced by a well, so he dug an enormous trench MEMBERS OF THE MILITANT GROUP Islamic Jihad patrol the border with Israel to prevent incursions by the Israel Defense Forces. The average Gazan family has six people, and with so few jobs to be had, disaffected young men are drawn to extremist groups.