CAIRO: The armed forces announced Sunday it had discovered a 2.8 km tunnel used for smuggling along the Rafah-Gaza borders; the tunnel is the longest one uncovered so far.
The tunnel was found passing under three homes in Rafah city near the borders with Gaza, according to the Facebook page of the military spokesperson Mohamed Samir. The opening was discovered by border patrols and military engineers as part of an ongoing campaign against extremist elements in North Sinai.
A 1km- wide buffer zone along the Rafah-Gaza border was announced after an attack killed over 30 military personnel in October 2014 in the northern tip of the peninsula.
The homes within the determined sphere of the buffer zone were demolished, and the families who used to live there were compensated.
Under the campaign, the armed forces have announced uncovering hundreds of tunnels that were used for smuggling extremists, equipments and goods. They also announced killing hundreds of extremists.
The discovered tunnels are destroyed either by flooding, dynamite and explosives or heavy equipments.
According to Youm7, the longest tunnel discover before Sunday’s discovery was 2km two week ago.
On Dec. 30, a 1,700 meter-long tunnel was uncovered in Egyptian Rafah.
Since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, military personnel in North Sinai have been targeted by radical groups there, and hundreds of army and police forces have been killed.
In January, more than 40 security forces and civilians were killed in an attack in Arish.
The responsibility for most of the attacks in the peninsula has been claimed by the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, recently re-branded as “Wilayat Sinai,” meaning State of the Sinai, after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Tantawy