Egypt intensifies clampdown on smuggling tunnels, say Palestinian sources

Egyptian authorities have intensified their crackdown on smugglers' tunnels to Gaza over the past few days, according to Palestinian sources.

They said the authorities have discovered new tunnels, destroyed several and confiscated large quantities of goods that were on their way to Gaza.

Tunnel owners said the crackdown focused on districts where there is a larger number of tunnels, adding that increased numbers of policemen have been deployed on the border during the campaign.

Smuggling activity has slowed over the past week, the sources said, and some tunnels have been completely abandoned while others are used much less frequently.

They also said that Egyptian policemen are using modern equipment to comb the Egyptian side of the border for tunnel openings.

They added that some tunnels are destroyed using explosives, while the entrances to others are blocked using rubble and debris.

The 13km border strip between Egypt and Gaza, located to the south of Rafah, has several tunnels. Egyptian authorities have begun constructing a steel wall extending 12 meters below the ground in order to prevent such smuggling activities.

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