Smuggler delivering KFC through a Gazan underground tunnel
Smuggler delivers KFC through a Gazan underground tunnel

Gazans craving the colonel's secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken can now order their fix from a group of smugglers who transport KFC deliveries from Egypt via a network of underground tunnels.

"Last chance to order for the Thursday 6pm delivery is Wednesday night," says the Yamama delivery firm on its Facebook page.

On a typical run, Yamama, which is Arabic for pigeon, orders about 30 meals from the KFC outlet in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, about 25 miles from the border with Gaza.

"We place the order with the restaurant in El-Arish, then drive it in a car to the Egyptian side of Rafah," Yamama director Khalil al-Ifranji told the AFP.

"Someone takes it from there through the tunnels to (Gazan) Rafah. They then drive it to our headquarters (in Gaza City)."

Motorbike delivery men then ferry the orders to addresses throughout the region.

The Gaza strip has been under Israeli blockade since 2007, and the black market has thrived as residents seek hard-to-find products.

Tight restrictions on Gazans travelling to Egypt means that they are unable to pop over the border and pick up their own takeaways, with men aged 16 to 40 needing a special permit to travel across.

Everything from motorcycles to iPads and even brides are transported through a network of underground tunnels.

There are no fast food franchises in Gaza, and Yamama charges 130 shekels (£23) for a delivery of 12 pieces of fried chicken, considerably more than it costs over the border.

"There are many orders," said Ifranji.

"People can't travel regularly, and those who've tried this food really miss it. Those who haven't, dream of it."

"The irregular circumstances in Gaza generate an irregular way of thinking," Fadel Abu Heen, a professor of psychology at Al Aqsa University in Gaza City told the New York Times. "They think of anything that is just behind the border, exactly as the prisoner is thinking of anything beyond the bars."

Yamama launched the service three weeks ago, when friends started bringing takeaways over the border from Egypt and suggested there may be a business in it. Since then, they say, demand has been steadily rising.

Only hours after opening the service on Facebook, the company had received 20 orders, said Ifranji.

To see the KFC smugglers in action, click on the YouTube video below.