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Egypt destroys 1.5 km smuggling tunnel near Rafah

July 4, 2015 6:15 P.M. (Updated: July 5, 2015 1:25 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian forces on Saturday discovered and destroyed a 1.5 kilometer smuggling tunnel beneath the Gazan border, the Egyptian army said.

Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that the tunnel was found by Egyptian border guards in the Dayniya area south of Rafah.

They said that eight sacks of explosive TNT material and a half-ton of C-4 -- another explosive material -- had been found inside the tunnel.

Both the tunnel and the explosive material were destroyed by the army.

Smuggling tunnels have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt.

While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gazans including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.

Egypt has sought to destroy the tunnels as part of an ongoing security campaign in the northern Sinai against anti-regime militants launching attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel.

At least 70 people, mostly soldiers, were killed in attacks on Wednesday, which many attributed to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a militant group that changed its name to "Sinai Province" after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group.

In the past, Egypt has accused Hamas of supporting militant groups in the Sinai, although Hamas strongly denies the allegations.

Hamas on Friday also dismissed Israeli accusations they had backed Wednesday's attacks, with a spokesman saying: "We are intent on (preserving) Egypt's security."

In the last year, Hamas itself has been challenged in Gaza by a number of small militant groups, which have made no secret of their disdain for Hamas' observance of a tacit ceasefire with Israel.

"Hamas is finding it difficult to control Islamic Jihad and other elements," an Israeli official said in June, referring to Hamas' ability to maintain quiet in the coastal enclave.

Hamas has suffered poor relations with the Egyptian government ever since the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood, with whom they were closely allied, was thrown out of power in July 2013.

The Egyptian army has destroyed hundreds of smuggling tunnels since then, though new ones continue to be found.
Zena / Canada
''destroyed a 1.5 kilometer smuggling tunnel beneath the Gazan border''. This is dreadful, is anyone jumping up and down with indignation and bile, at this? Or do you save that venom for the Jewish people protecting themselves against Islamic religious extremists?
04/07/2015 19:53
Bernard Suisse / Suisse
The UN Palmer report confirmed that Israel’s blockade is legal to prevent weapons transfers is legal and appropriate under international law.The Red Cross and who reported that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in part because Israel facilitates the weekly shipment of thousands of tons of aid.
04/07/2015 19:57
Collette / Belgium
The blockade does not impose collective punishment? Tons of goods have been transported into Gaza every year since the blockade began. The blockade only has the reasonable requirement that Israeli officials inspect all shipments to ensure that Gaza’s terrorist groups are not importing weaponry.
04/07/2015 19:59
Yoshiko / Japan
It is highly relevant to remind opinion makers that although they have consistently referred to the blockade of Gaza as an Israeli blockade, it has been maintained jointly with Egypt during the rule of Mubarak as well as of Morsi and Sisi.
04/07/2015 20:02
Ross / Canada
A half ton of C4 was found? Wow! 10 pounds is enough to destroy a building. A half ton Is enough to blow up a whole city. Hamas must have been planning something very, very big. So much for peace with either Israel or Egypt.
05/07/2015 00:30
Luzer / USA
No peace In Israel or in Egypt will add up to more problems and hardships for you. The more deviant actions you display the more you will suffer. Crying to the UN constantly won't help you either. Keep on trying to subvert both countries and you wonder why you have no country at all.
05/07/2015 02:08
Tobias / USA
No one has a right to terrorize by gun, bomb, rocket, or tunnel, and
1- Egypt's forces have an obligation to stop such tunnels, just as
2- Israel's forces have an obligation to target such militants,
even if they're also engaging in other war crimes, of using Gaza's civilians as human-shields !!
05/07/2015 04:58
Brian Cohen / Israel
The Palestinians number one problem continues to be Hamas. Hamas is anti-democracy, anti-human rights, anti-civil rights and all of it aimed against Palestinians. In order for Palestinians to be free, they must destroy Hamas before it destroys them.
05/07/2015 08:24
Dimi / Germany
TNT and C-4 found inside tunnel belong to the "lifeline" of Gazans???
05/07/2015 11:25
spb / usa
So much humanitarian and construction materials destroyed it is really a shame. Not to mention stealing work from kids who have to move explosives and killed by tunnels collapse.
All these amount to what HR council call Israel crimes against humanity.Go figure
05/07/2015 14:34
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