EL-ARISH, Egypt – Egyptian security authorities recovered a Palestinian man who had fallen into a coma after being trapped Sunday for several hours inside a tunnel he was digging to smuggle goods between Egypt and Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Imad Kharboush, head of the northern Sinai emergency unit, said Palestinian Abdul-Rahman Attiya Shalloub, 24, was in a deep coma and had been rushed to surgery at the El-Arish general hospital. His condition remains very critical.
Earlier, an Egyptian security official said the tunnel collapsed and the man was killed while a Palestinian official said the man was simply overcome with fumes from the gasoline he was smuggling overnight. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The Egyptian official said the Palestinian was found in the tunnel some 10 yards inside Egyptian territory.
Palestinian smugglers have used tunnels to move weapons and contraband goods from Egypt into Gaza, which was taken by the militant Palestinian group Hamas in June.