Egyptian military sources told Ma’an that the tunnel was three meters
underground and was being used to smuggle people, ammunition, weapons and
They said it was the longest tunnel uncovered between Egypt and the Gaza
Strip since the start of operations near the border to crack down on
Earlier this month, the Egyptian army said it had demolished over 1,000
houses in Rafah as part of the second stage of the establishment of a buffer
zone along the border.
After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in
October 2014, the military stepped up the campaign to build the buffer zone
amid accusations of Hamas support for the group that carried out the attack,
which Hamas has strenuously denied.
Both sides of the border are densely populated as the city of Rafah
originally extended in both directions, a growth that was the result of the
Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula for more than a decade following
the 1967 war.
The North Sinai has seen prolonged violence since the ousting of Egypt’s
first democratically elected president, Muhammad Morsi, in 2013, with
Egyptian security forces battling various armed groups supporting the ousted
The border area used to be host to hundreds of tunnels which Gazans used to
import goods to get around the seven-year-old Israeli siege of the