Egyptian forces discovered a tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip – the longest one they’ve found so far since the start of operations near the border to crack down on smuggling and create a buffer zone.
Egyptian border guards announced Sunday that they uncovered a 2.8-km-long tunnel from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, running under the yards of three homes in Rafah near the Gaza border.
Egyptian military sources told the Palestinian Ma’an News agency that the tunnel was three meters underground and was being used to smuggle people, ammunition, weapons and goods.
They said it was the longest tunnel uncovered between Egypt and the Gaza Strip since the start of operations near the border to crack down on smuggling and create a buffer zone.
Back in December, the Egyptian army demolished over 1,000 houses in Rafah as part of the second stage in establishing a demarcation line along the border, Ma’an reports.
After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October 2014, the military stepped up its campaign to build the buffer zone, while accusing Hamas of supporting the terror attack. Hamas vigorously denied these charges.
Escalating Tensions on the Egypt-Gaza Border
Northern Sinai has seen prolonged violence since the ousting of Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi in 2013, with Egyptian security forces battling various terror organizations supporting the ousted Muslim Brotherhood.
The border area was hosting hundreds of tunnels running from Egypt into Gaza, which were used for smuggling anything from cigarettes to a car and, of course, for firing rockets aimed at Israeli civilian targets.
Hamas and Egypt are on a collision course, with tensions still rising. Egypt cut power to the Palestinian cities of Khan Younis and Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip last week after residents accumulated a large electric bill and refused to pay it.
Earlier in March, an Egyptian court added Hamas to its list of designated terror organizations, a decision that could harm Hamas financially and hinder its diplomatic efforts.
In response, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad both threatened Egypt, stating that they will “react to any aggression in the same way it reacts to Israel,” namely, plaguing it with terror attacks.
By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel