Egyptian security forces recently discovered a 1.2 kilometer (0.75 mile) long tunnel near Rafah under the border between the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip that was used to smuggle weapons, fuel, food and other consumer goods.
Hamas operatives inside an underground tunnel in Gaza on August 18, 2014. – Photo: Reuters
According to Palestinian news agency Maan, which cited a senior Egyptian security official, the tunnel opening was discovered in a bedroom in a house on the Egyptian side of Rafah. The house belonged to a smuggler known to Egyptian authorities in the Sinai Peninsula.
The tunnel reportedly had lightning and air ventilation systems installed, as well as phone lines connected to central call centers, which allowed the Egyptian and Palestinian smugglers to communicate and coordinate their shipments.
Witnesses said a large force of Egyptian military sappers arrived at the site where the tunnel was discovered and destroyed it using various types of industrial equipment, including industrial tractors and plows.
Smoke rises as a house is blown up during an Egyptian military operation in Rafah, near the Gaza border – Photo: Reuters
Egypt began work on creating buffer zone between Sinai and Gaza in 2014, clearing and destroying houses near the border. During the creation of the buffer zone, dozens of tunnels connecting Egyptian and Palestinian Rafah were discovered, with openings in mosques, medical clinics, and kindergartens.
In November, the Egyptian government decided to extend the buffer zone.
“A decision was taken to increase the buffer zone along the border in Rafah to 1 kilometer. The decision … came after the discovery of underground tunnels with a total length of 800 to 1,000 metres [1,900 feet to 2,600 feet],” the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22881