'Egypt intensifies destruction of Gaza tunnels'

Witnesses have heard explosions and increased Egyptian military activity; domestic security cited as reason for campaign.

Gaza smuggling tunnel 370 (photo credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters)
Gaza smuggling tunnel 370
(photo credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters)
The Egyptian army continued destroying tunnels from Gaza over the past few days with sources reporting that larger numbers of army forces have moved to the border region, according to a report on the Palestine News Network website. The website says that witnesses confirm these reports and that there are indeed large-scale ongoing military operations underway on the Egypt-Gaza border.
Workers in the tunnels have noticed the increase of army forces in the region and citizens living nearby have heard explosions from the Egyptian side of the border, according to the report. Sources also confirmed that no one was killed in the blowing up of the tunnels because the army makes sure that nobody is in the tunnels when they are blown up.
The Egyptian army is using modern technologies, surveillance cameras, and dogs in order to find the tunnels according to the report. In addition, the sources noted that there has been a decrease of liquid fuel reaching Gaza as of late because of the Egyptian army actions.
The Hamas leadership in Gaza had believed that the coming to power of a fellow Muslim Brotherhood led government in Egypt would lead to a more friendly policy, but analysts believe that Egyptian security interests are leading Egypt to crackdown on the tunnel smuggling. Last August, jihadists in the Sinai killed 18 Egyptian soldiers.
This has led Hamas to turn to the border crossing with Israel for trade according to a report on Saturday in the Economist. This makes some in Hamas uncomfortable, according to the report, because it makes Hamas more dependent on Israel. In addition, “Hamas’s security forces have begun acting on Israeli intelligence passed via Egypt about wayward militants planning attacks, say Western officials,” states the Economist.
Earlier this month, Al-Ahram Weekly quoted Megahed Al-Zayat, the director of the National Centre for Middle East Studies, “There isn’t a country in the world that would allow its borders to be abused in this manner. Nor can one imagine ideology being allowed to leapfrog Egyptian national security.”