Four Palestinians were killed and at least 10 others were wounded Wednesday following the collapse of a smuggling tunnel on the border between Gaza and Egypt, according to Palestinian medical sources in Gaza.
Palestinian police accused Egyptian security forces of killing the Gaza smugglers by blowing up their cross-border tunnel. The Palestinians also charged that Egyptian security forces spread toxic gas in the collapsed tunnels.
Witnesses said the incident was apparently caused by an explosion that occurred on the Egyptian side of the tunnel.
Detonating a bomb underground, Egyptian security forces collapsed a tunnel in which seven smugglers were working, a Palestinian police official said. Three died of smoke inhalation and a fourth from flying debris.
The three injured Palestinians were admitted to a hospital in Rafah.
The death toll in the Rafah-area accident is the highest since 2009, when five Palestinians were killed in a tunnel.
According to other reports, 10 people were hurt in the incident.
Collapses have been frequent in the tunnels, used to traffic in arms, fuel and goods from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.
While the smuggling continues, Egypt has started to install a metal barrier at the underground border with Gaza to curb the operation of the tunnels.
Under pressure from Israel and the United States, Egypt has tried to stem the secret passages from its Sinai Peninsula, which have allowed Palestinians in Gaza to also import commercial goods into the Strip.
Reuters and AFP contributed to the report