Smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza
Smuggling tunnel between Egypt and GazaReuters

Egyptian border forces on Sunday uncovered and destroyed 12 tunnels along the borders of the northern Sinai and Gaza, Egyptian army spokesman Tamer al-Rifae told the Ma’an news agency.

It remained unclear exactly how the tunnels were destroyed.

Egypt in recent years has been cracking down on the underground tunnels between the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza, which terrorists use to smuggle terrorists and weapons from Egypt into the coastal enclave.

These tunnels were a lifeline for Hamas, which collected millions of dollars in taxes and revenues from the smuggled goods.

As part of the crackdown on the tunnels, Egypt often floods the tunnels in order to render them ineffective, ignoring Hamas’s pleas that it stop doing so.

Last month, four Gazans were left dead when Egyptian authorities deliberately flooded a tunnel with seawater.

The crackdown on the tunnels is part of a larger security campaign in the northern Sinai against terrorists launching attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel.

After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October 2014, the military stepped up the campaign to build a buffer zone along the border, as it accused Hamas of supporting the group that carried out the attack, which Hamas has strenuously denied.

The buffer zone was initially planned to be 500 meters wide, but Egypt later decided to expand it by another 500 meters.