Authors: Ertig Couture
Egyptian security forces on Saturday uncovered an underground smuggling tunnel running from northern Sinai into Gaza that housed large quantities of mortar shells and explosives, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
Egyptian sources in Cairo told Ma’an the approximately 1,200 meter-long tunnel’s entrance was located inside a house on the Egyptian side of Rafah, on the eastern border of the Palestinian enclave.
The Egyptian military said it destroyed the tunnel and was preparing to raze the smuggling house that contained the entrance to the underground passageway, Ma’an reported.
The inhabitants of the dwelling reportedly fled.
In November, Egypt decided to double the width of a security- buffer zone it is clearing on the border with Gaza after an outbreak of some of the worst anti-state violence since former president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown last year.
Egypt declared a state of emergency in the border area after at least 33 security personnel were killed in two attacks in October.
Hamas, meanwhile, has expressed its concern over the building of the buffer zone, saying it would tighten the blockade on Gaza.