Egyptian army destroys Gaza smuggling tunnel: Reports

Blockaded Gaza’s two million inhabitants rely on cross-border tunnels for basic commodities
GAZA CITY, Palestine: The Egyptian army on Tuesday destroyed a tunnel used for smuggling goods from the Sinai Peninsula into the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian media reports.
“Huge explosions could be heard in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah as the tunnel was destroyed,” the Samaa news agency quoted local sources as saying.
According to the same sources, the Egyptian army also pumped large amounts of seawater into the demolished tunnel to prevent it from being rebuilt.
No official reports on the number of causalities were released by civil security officials or Egyptian authorities.
Some media reports such as the Israeli daily Haaretz suggest eight Palestinian workers were trapped at the tunnel.
A rescue team has been dispatched to search for survivors, a Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Due to an 11-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade, the Gaza Strip’s roughly two million inhabitants must rely on a network of cross-border tunnels to import many basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.
Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has remained the epicenter of a militant insurgency since 2013, when Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely-elected president, was ousted in a bloody military coup.
Since then, hundreds of Egyptian security personnel in Sinai have been killed in militant attacks, especially in the peninsula’s volatile northeastern quadrant, which shares borders with both Gaza and Israel.–AA

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