Egyptian army destroys 2 Gaza border tunnels

The Egyptian army has destroyed two cross-border tunnels linking Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the blockaded Gaza Strip, a military spokesman said Saturday.

In a statement, Army Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said that two tunnels that have been used for “human trafficking and smuggling” were demolished by the Egyptian army on the North Sinai border.

Al-Rifai added that they seized 20 fuel cans, and ten sacks of welding wire that are used for making explosive materials.

Egyptian army forces have destroyed a total of 27 cross-border tunnels along border with Gaza since January.

Read: Toxic gas kills 3 Palestinians in Gaza-Egypt tunnel

Reeling from a decade-long blockade by Israel, the Gaza Strip’s roughly 2 million inhabitants have come to rely on a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels to import basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

Following a 2013 military coup against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader, the Egyptian authorities have cracked down hard on the Sinai-Gaza tunnel network.

In 2014, Egypt began building a “buffer zone” along its border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip following a spate of militant attacks on Egyptian security forces deployed in Sinai.

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

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