Egypt reports 521 tunnels destroyed on Gaza border

By May 26 2015, 16:35 Latest News No Comments

Egypt tunnelsAccording to reports, the Egyptian military has destroyed 521 tunnel openings on the Gaza and north Sinai borders over the past six months.

Egyptian army spokesperson Mohamed Samir said that border guards demolished the tunnels over the past six months, including 63 that had been constructed up to 2.8 kilometres from the border.

Mr Samir said that some of the tunnels were equipped with railroad tracks and communication rooms. He added that the Egyptian military would reveal its plans to end the problem of terror tunnels in the near future.

The Egyptian plan to destroy the border tunnels is part of the country’s ongoing offensive against Salafist terror groups operating in the Sinai, and an effort to eradicate the smuggling network linking Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula.

In May, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said that at least 80% of the tunnels between the Sinai and the Gaza Strip had been destroyed, and that nearly 200 militants were arrested in massive security operation.

In October 2014, Egypt’s military began its demolishment of dozens of homes along its border with the Gaza Strip, after residents were ordered to evacuate to make way for a planned buffer zone designed to stop Hamas terrorists and arms smugglers.

The Gaza buffer zone plan followed the terror attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint in the same month that killed 30 Egyptian soldiers. The plan has resulted in the eviction of over a thousand homes, and the zone was expanded this year to 2,000 metres.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is Egypt’s deadliest terror group. The group has killed scores of soldiers and policemen in the Sinai Peninsula since the army overthrew former President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. In November 2014, the Salafist group pledged allegiance to ISIS’ self-declared caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and has since vowed to “liberate Jerusalem”.

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