World, Middle East

Egyptian army destroys cross-border tunnels with Gaza

Blockaded strip's 2 million inhabitants rely on cross-border tunnels to import food, fuel and medicine

31.10.2017
Egyptian army destroys cross-border tunnels with Gaza FILE PHOTO

By Aydogan Kalabalik

CAIRO

The Egyptian army has destroyed three cross-border tunnels linking Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the blockaded Gaza Strip, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Army Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said the army had demolished three tunnels found under Egypt's border with the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

Due to a decade-long blockade imposed by both Israel and Egypt, the Gaza Strip’s roughly 2 million inhabitants have come to rely on a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels to import basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

Ever since Egypt’s 2013 military coup against the country’s first freely elected president, the Egyptian authorities have cracked down hard on the cross-border tunnel network.

In 2014, Egypt set up a "buffer zone" along its border with the Gaza Strip following a spate of militant attacks on Egyptian security forces deployed in the Sinai Peninsula.

One year later, the Egyptian army began flooding the tunnel network with seawater in a bid to eradicate all cross-border traffic.

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