Egypt destroys 12 smuggling tunnels from Gaza Strip into Sinai

Egyptian military confirms 12 tunnels destroyed; Hamas claims 21 militants killed in tunnels in 2016

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Egypt destroyed 12 smuggling tunnels from the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula.

The Egyptian military confirmed early this week that the tunnels were destroyed, but did not provide details of the tunnels nor when they were destroyed.

Egypt, like Israel, is consistently confronted with terror threats from Gaza’s tunnels, which are used for smuggling of goods, weapons and people. Egypt reportedly demolished dozens of tunnels in 2016, Hamas reporting that 21 of their militants were killed in the demolitions.

Israel last detected and destroyed a terror tunnel from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory in August of 2016 after a tunnel was found and destroyed previously in April. The tunnels, both around 30 meters underground, were neutralized by the IDF. During Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, the IDF destroyed Hamas’s terror tunnel networks, destroying 34 tunnels. The tunnels were used for smuggling weapons and materials for creating rockets as well as for infiltration of terrorists into Israeli territory.

In May of 2016, The IDF and Ministry of Defense announced plans to construct a concrete wall to be constructed along the 61-kilometer border with the Gaza Strip, the wall to go several meters underground.

The wall would be Israel’s third defense barrier to be constructed on the border with the Gaza Strip. The first barrier was constructed post-Oslo Accords in 1994, the second following the disengagement from the Strip in 2005. During the disengagement, over 8,500 Israeli, Jewish citizens were pulled from their homes as an effort for resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The Gaza Strip was then taken over by Hamas. Since then, Israel has been subject to rocket attacks and terror tunnels into Israeli territory for over a decade.