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Egyptian army destroys 9 tunnels linking Gaza to Sinai

Underground tunnel in Gaza.
Underground tunnel in Gaza. [File photo]

The Egyptian army on Thursday said it had destroyed nine cross-border tunnels linking Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the blockaded Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a statement, army spokesman Tamer al-Refai said the tunnels were being “used by terrorist elements for infiltration [into Egyptian territory] and weapons smuggling”.

He did not, however, say when exactly the tunnels were destroyed.

Due to a years-long Israeli/Egyptian blockade, the Gaza Strip’s roughly two million inhabitants have come to rely on a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels to import basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

Following Egypt’s 2013 military coup, the authorities began cracking down on the tunnels, claiming they were being used by Gaza-based “terrorist groups”.

In 2014, Egypt established a “buffer zone” along its border with Gaza following a spate of attacks on security forces deployed in Sinai.

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

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