As the Egyptian authorities continue relentlessly to pump water from the Mediterranean sea across the Rafah border in the southern Gaza strip, the affected terrain is beginning to change. The Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency reported on Tuesday that the pumping has been causing landslides of the sandy soil across a wide span. Large sinkholes have begun to form along the border area, creating hazards for the locals.
This week, national security and civil defense forces were rushed to the sites of new sink holes, to protect citizens from the risk of collapse. Sources in the Gaza Strip are worried that the continued Egyptian action, intended to discourage Gazan smugglers from returning to their tunnels, will cause the erosion of vast areas and even the collapse of buildings.
In October, 2014, the Egyptian army created a wide buffer zone in the town of Rafah, demolishing thousands of homes along the border with the Gaza Strip. Authorities said the move was aimed at preventing the infiltration of jihadists and arms smugglers through tunnels that run under the border. Pumping the tunnels with sea water has been a cheap and reliable method for the Egyptians to keep hostile Islamists from entering the Sinai from Gaza.
Last Wednesday, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced that a state of emergency has been extended for another three months in parts of North Sinai, including the area near the Gaza Strip border. The northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has been the focal point of an Islamist insurgency that continues to hound the new Egyptian regime.
On Saturday, Octiber 24, three police officers were killed and eight injured, when a roadside bomb targeting their armored vehicle detonated in Al-Arish, south west of Gaza. Islamist terrorists on a motorcycle shot dead the parliamentary candidate of the Salafist Nour party on the same day.