CAIRO: The Egyptian Second Field Army destroyed a cross-border tunnel linking Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula with the Gaza Strip, military spokesperson Mohamed Samir announced in Thursday.
Found at the Dahliya area south of Rafah North Sinai’s border city of Rafah, the tunnel measures 35 meters long and 1.2 meters wide, Samir said, adding that “it was equipped with two electricity cables, a landline phone along with electric motor weight lifting.”
The Gaza strip, which is blockaded from its Israeli borders, shares a land crossing with Egypt, which is opened rarely to allow humanitarian cases and supplies to cross. Many Gazans depend on smuggled goods to supplement markets. Cairo has stated that illegal goods and arms also flow from the strip.
Following an October 2014 attack against the military that killed more than 30 soldiers, the Egyptian army evaluated a 1-kilometer wide strip next to the Rafah border, in an attempt to close down illegal tunnels.
Last week, the Egyptian army announced it had flooded several tunnels with salt water to prevent arms smuggling between Gaza and restive North Sinai.
The Third Field Army has seized two arms warehouses; one of which had huge amounts of TNT and C4 explosive material, machine guns, sniper rifles and hundreds of bullets, according to Samir.
In October 2015, the Egyptian army launched “The Right of Martyr” large scale military operation against militant groups in the Sinai Peninsula which left hundreds of militants killed and many suspects arrested.
Egypt has witnessed a significant rise in militancy since the military-backed ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. According to the Interior Ministry, militant attacks have killed more than 500 security personnel since then.
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM) militant group, which has changed its name to the “Sinai State” and vowed loyalty to the regional Islamic State (IS) militant group, has claimed responsibility for most of the terror attacks in Sinai and across Egypt.