Israel's Gaza Blockade Criticized By UN Humanitarian Chief

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UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. humanitarian chief says Israel's blockade of Gaza is not helping its security or weakening Hamas' hold on the territory.

John Holmes also warned that as bad as the hundreds of tunnels that bypass the blockade are, Gaza would have difficulty surviving if Egypt succeeds in blocking them because they are a conduit for badly needed commercial goods including food and medicine.

The tunnels are also widely believed to be used for smuggling cash and weapons to Hamas.

Egypt has a fence along Gaza's southern border and is reinforcing the area with underground metal plates to shut down the tunnels.

Holmes, who visited Gaza earlier this month during a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, said he again called on Israel to allow the normal entry of goods.

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