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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Egyptian military started the demolition of underground tunnels near the Gaza border

Underground tunnels connecting Gaza with Egypt's Sinai

After the order of Hussein Tantawy, Head on SCAF and Egypt’s Minister of Defense, Egyptian military started the destruction of all the underground tunnels connecting Egyptian Sinai with the neighboring Gaza, reports state TV.

The special engineering units already arrived in the border city of Rafah and started to swamp the tunnels with the sand and stones using the special heavy technique and set the walls from the barbed wire in the area. The eyewitnesses and local residents who observe the works stressed that it would be more effective to blow up the tunnels as it would complicate any works in attempt to fix and recover the tunnels from the Palestinian side.

There are thousands of underground tunnels on Egypt’s Sinai territory connecting Egypt with the Gaza Sector which is under blockade. Those tunnels are often used for delivery of some goods from Egypt to Gaza and for illegal migration, but with the deteriorated situation and lack of security in the region the tunnels became the way of connection between Sinai desert and Gaza for smuggling weapons. They are also used by terrorists who perpetrate Egypt’s Sinai through the tunnels. The numerous militants’ cells and groups are operating currently on the territory of Sinai desert, committing the attacks against Israeli objects.

The recent violent Sunday attack on the Egyptian-Israeli border which resulted in the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers and the following attacks on several border checkpoints and police stations in El-Arish made Cairo to take serious and radical decisions to resolve the problem in order to restore security and stability in Northern Sinai. The massive military offensive was conducted since Wednesday, killing about 20 militants, according to military sources and MENA. The operation is still ongoing now, after the fresh clashes at El-Arish police station. The destruction of the network of underground tunnels on the Gaza border came as one of the decisions for the maintaining control in Sinai area.