A Palestinian man receives goods from Egypt through a tunnel dug 50 feet underneath the border in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Photo by: AP
By DPA, www.Haaretz.com

Egyptian security forces have destroyed four tunnels leading across the border to the Gaza Strip, one of them large enough to smuggle cars, officials said.

The tunnels were being used to smuggle essential goods, petrol, and cars into the blockaded enclave, according to authorities.

Egypt has said it destroyed over 20 tunnels in September alone along its 7-mile border with the Palestinian territory, as part of its most recent effort to clamp down on smuggling.

In addition to providing a lifeline for the 1.5 million inhabitants of the enclave, the tunnels are believed to be used to transport weapons for militants.

Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip was tightened after Hamas took control of the territory in 2007.

The Egyptian government has faced domestic criticism for its destruction of tunnels and its partial blockade on Gaza. However, after Israel violently prevented an aid flotilla from reaching Gaza, Egypt lifted some of the restrictions at its Rafah border crossing, allowing entry to Palestinians needing medical attention, and to pilgrims.

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