Ma'an News Agency
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Egyptian forces took control of 10 smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border area of Salah Ad-Din in Rafah on Wednesday and thwarted a cement-smuggling operation, a security source said.

Forces seized a tunnel after receiving information on its location, the official told Ma'an. The tunnels were raided and 30 bags of cement were found inside. The smugglers fled the scene before security forces arrived.

The cement, weighing approximately 1.5 tons, was confiscated. The tunnels will be demolished, the source said.

Approximately 450 smuggling tunnels have been seized since the beginning of July as well as 11 tunnels used to transfer cars into Gaza, the source added.

Since Israel imposed its blockade of Gaza in 2006, residents began digging a network of underground smuggling routes to transfer goods barred from import by Israel, among them construction materials.

In response, Egypt began construction of an underground steel wall built to thwart smuggling efforts, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010. On Sunday, Egyptian government sources rebuffed rumors that smugglers had cut through the wall in continued efforts to bring goods into the Strip.


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