Egypt announced the destruction of some 20 recently discovered smuggling tunnels along its border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
The Egyptian military, which shared the news on its official Facebook page, claimed that the tunnels were uncovered and destroyed last month. While no further details were given, Egypt has lately been collapsing smuggling tunnels between the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza by flooding them. The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday that 14 Gazans were rescued after a flooded tunnel collapsed.
Last October, Egypt announced that it would create a 500 meter buffer along its border with Gaza in the aftermath of deadly, coordinated attacks against Egyptian troops in the Sinai. The creation of the buffer zone followed an assessment that Gaza served as a training base for Sinai-based jihadists.
This summer, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who serves as Israel’s coordinator for activities in Gaza and the West Bank, accused Hamas of assisting the Sinai-based affiliate of ISIS. At the time, Egypt was said to be considering asking the IDF for assistance in its fight against the terror group.
Last week, Shadi al-Menei, the commander of ISIS in the Sinai, reportedly visited Gaza to coordinate his group’s smuggling operations with Hamas and discuss ways to that the two can increase cooperation.
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