The Egyptian military has begun to pump water from the Mediterranean Sea into underground smuggling tunnels that connect Gaza Strip with Egypt, security officials and eye witnesses said.
The operation is a cooperation between Israel and Egypt and is said to aim at ending smuggling to the Palestinian territory.
Gaza, administered by the Islamic Hamas movement, remains under a tight blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.
The government in Cairo began to destroy hundreds of homes on the Egyptian side of Rafah last year, which straddles both Sinai and Gaza, in order to create a “buffer zone”.
Egypt President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is ardently opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, having deposed former president Mohammed Morsi, a member of the group, in a military coup in 2013. Hamas is widely considered an offshoot of the movement.
The tunnels to Gaza are used to smuggle both goods, such as clothing, medicine and other products, as well as weapons.