Egypt Demolishes Tunnel in Southern Gaza Strip, Reports Say

According to reports, Palestinian rescue forces are working to rescue the trapped people. It is not yet clear why the destroyed tunnel was used

A tunnel shaft on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, connecting the Gaza Strip and Sinai, in 2012

The Egyptian army destroyed a tunnel dug in the Rafah area using heavy tools, Palestinian media reported on Tuesday. According to eyewitnesses in Rafah, eight Palestinian workers are trapped in the tunnel. According to reports, contact has been made with the people trapped in the tunnel and Palestinian rescue forces are working to free them. It was not published why the tunnel was destroyed.

Since Ramadan, Egypt has decided to open the Rafah crossing to the movement of people and goods. So far, more than 1,400 trucks from Egypt have passed through Rafah. Because the security control over the crossing is small, Israel is not sure whether the trucks were smuggling weapons as Hamas has done in the past.

In the past, Egypt flooded Hamas smuggling tunnels along the Gaza Strip border. In February 2016, Minister of National Infrastructures and Energy Yuval Steinitz claimed that Egypt did so at Israel's request. A few months earlier, in September 2015, the German news agency DPA reported that the Egyptian army had begun pumping water from the Mediterranean to flood the tunnels between Sinai and the Gaza Strip.