Egypt has denied accusations that it is building an underground steel barrier along its border with the Gaza Strip in order to seal off smuggling tunnels, Al-Jazeera reported on Friday.
While eyewitnesses in Rafah, near the border, recounted sighting bulldozers, sophisticated equipment and workers inserting long slabs of steel into the ground in the border area, sources in Egypt told the Arab news agency that any construction work in the area was routine and conducted for maintenance purposes.
However, Hamas confirmed on Friday evening that Egypt was indeed building such a barrier. "We in Hamas can't believe that Egypt would put barriers between us," Yehiye Mousa, a lawmaker belonging to the terrorist organization, was quoted by various news agencies as saying.
According to reports that have reached the IDF, Egypt is currently in the initial stages of building an underground metal wall that will reach a depth of 16 meters, as part of an effort to cut off smuggling tunnels used by Hamas to bring advanced weaponry into Gaza.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report