In an effort to stem the flow of weapons and illegal persons from moving between Egypt and Gaza, Cairo has established a special unit to seek out and destroy tunnels between the Palestinian land and Sinai.
An Israeli defence official told reporters on Sunday that the Egyptian military is establishing the commando unit to coincide with American assistance that is expected soon.
The unit will deploy in April with the American-made tunnel detection systems that are scheduled to arrive in the North African nation.
Combining the unit with the new technology will help Egyptian troops detect and destroy tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor between Egypt and Gaza.
In recent months, a number of tunnels have been discovered and destroyed by Egyptian security forces.
The tunnels are used to smuggle contraband, including weapons, into Gaza.
Israel claims those weapons are then used against Israeli citizens.
According to the Israeli official, the special military unit would no longer simply destroy the entrance to the tunnels unearthed, they would enter the tunnels and plant explosives throughout in an effort to make the tunnel totally unusable.
Many of the tunnels destroyed by security forces have resumed use after Palestinians cleared the entrances.
American engineers, who recently spent time in Israel and Egypt, have trained the special commando unit.
Israel’s defence forces passed information to the engineers, who then shared the new data with their Egyptian counterparts in an effort to increase the efficacy of the border units.
The move to deploy the special unit came during Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Sharm El Sheikh, where he met with Egyptian Intelligence head Omar Suleiman and President Hosni Mubarak. Panapress.