Egypt's crackdown on tunnels connecting Rafah with Gaza Strip continues • Army official says some 800 of the tunnels lining the area were flooded, covered with sand in an effort to seal their entrances.
Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
A Palestinian works inside a smuggling tunnel flooded by Egyptian forces, beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip [Illustrative]
Photo credit: Reuters
Egypt's military began demolishing hundreds of tunnels connecting Egypt with Gaza Strip on Sunday, as part of its campaign to fight Islamist terror groups in the area. An Egyptian official said some 800 tunnels -- 80 percent of the tunnels believed to be lining the area -- have been demolished.
In recent weeks, Egypt's army has cracked down on border tunnels with Gaza through which food, fuel and weapons, citing Islamist militants in the Sinai desert.
An Egyptian official said the tunnels were flooded and then covered with sand in an effort to seal their entrances.
Egypt holds the key to many aspects of life in the area, from control of Rafah to brokering cease-fires between Hamas and Israel and trying to close a rift between Hamas and its rival faction Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The tunnels have provided an economic lifeline for the enclave, and Egypt's military says the network is also used by terror groups on both sides of the frontier to transfer weapons and terrorists.
The Sinai campaign began in June, as the escalating clashes between Egypt's military and global jihad operatives hiding in the Sinai Peninsula prompted Cairo to send troop reinforcements and set up dozens of roadblocks across the sparsely populated stretch of desert that runs from the Suez Canal to the Gaza border. As a result, Egyptian trucks carrying cement, steel rods, fuel and other goods could no longer reach the Gaza tunnels.