The government of Egypt has decided to take concrete steps to curb and then stop illegal cross-border tunneling along its borders. Now people who dig and use these tunnels for smuggling could face long term imprisonments which could be extended to penalty of life. In former months, Egyptian Armed forced (EAF) had undertaken a massive operation of destroying all the tunnels serving as a passageway for various illegal activities. The Gaza-Egypt border is a major part of the operation and the army has been demolishing every form of construction around it which includes some schools and residents' homes.

Law Amendments

Reportedly, the amendments regarding 'Infringement of National Sovereignty' of the penal code were passed by presidential decree. According to the amendment, any person involved in tunnelling, smuggling or offering any kind of help to people involved, is punishable with life penalty. The amendments also state that a person with the knowledge of the tunnel locations and failing to report it to the authority could also face a long term imprisonment.

Tension between Sinai residents and Army

The new regulation empowers army to seize and destroy the homes of residents built over these tunnels and confiscate every piece of gardening tools. As a result of this, residents of Sinai are suffering frequent army raids and disrupted economic conditions.

In the last one month itself, thousands of people were evicted from their properties, in the process of buffer zone extension. These evicted families were offered neither any help to rehabilitate nor any financial aid in turn of their properties.

Before these demolish missions, smuggling out fuel, cement and cigarettes to Gaza was a routine chore of the nearby residents.

According to residents their life depends hugely upon the trade of smuggling as it is their only source of income. So far, these cries of the residents are unheard and army has been demolishing these tunnels regularly.

Effect on Gaza

With these amendments in the effect, Gaza's paralyzed economy has been thrown into disarray. Its fuel price has gone up and prices of small commodities like cigarette, cement, paper and packed food items have gone sky high.