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Four Egyptian soldiers killed in attack on convoy near Gaza border

A picture taken from the Rafah border of the southern Gaza Strip with Egypt shows an Egyptian armored vehicle patroling the area on July 2, 2015
Said Khatib (AFP)
Gazan workers rescued from flooded tunnel; Palestinian killed in clashes with Israeli troops in Bethlehem

Four Egyptian soldiers were killed and another four others were wounded when an explosive device detonated in the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, a security source told Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

The blast targeting a military convoy went off in Rafah, near Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip.

The blast has not yet been claimed by any militant groups operating in the region and the Egyptian government has not commented on the incident.

The ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 unleashed a deadly police crackdown on his followers, and fueled an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.

AFP/File

Jihadists there who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

They have also claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian passenger plane after it left the south Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on October 31, killing all 224 people on board.

Hamas weapons seized by Islamic State?

Hamas suspects a shipment of arms interdicted by Egypt en route to Gaza may now be in the possession of Islamic State militants, according to a report by the Israeli news site Ynet News.

Egypt recently carried out an airstrike targeting a convoy transporting weapons through the Sinai to the Gaza based terror group. 

A few days after the strike, militants from Ansar Beit al Maqdis, a group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, attacked Egyptian security forces in the peninsula using weapons similar to those seen in the shipment, said Ynet.

According to Ynet, Egypt told Hamas that the weapons were destroyed in the strike, however, Hamas leadership believes that some weapons remained intact and were seized by militants.

Despite logistical ties between Hamas and Sinai based IS militants, their relationship is becoming increasingly estranged. 

Gaza's Shifa hospital would treated IS militants wounded fighting Egyptian forces and Hamas has paid the extremists thousands of dollars to help smuggle raw materials used domestic weapons manufacturing into the Strip, said Ynet.

In addition to the payments, the militants have imposed a "tax" in the form of a small number of weapons that it smuggles on behalf of Hamas.

Gazan tunnel workers rescued

Fourteen people trapped in a tunnel running between the Gaza Strip and Egypt that was flooded with seawater have reportedly been rescued by Gaza’s civil defense agency.

The tunnel, located in the area of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip is one of many used to smuggle goods across the border.

Palestinian media reported that the 14 people who were in the tunnel at the time of the flooding managed to find an un-flooded section and escape the water.

In August, the Egyptian military began building what was billed as a fish farm operated by the military, but effectively would flood the area with water and therefore put a stop to the cross-border tunnels used for smuggling.

Said Khatib / AFP

When the excavations are complete, Egyptian officials have said there will be 18 fisheries along the 14 kilometer border with Gaza, for the farming of mullet and shrimps.

Egypt has already established a buffer zone 10 kilometers long and half a kilometer wide along its border with Gaza.

Since the ouster of its Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt says it has destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to transport militants, merchandise and arms between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

Tunnels have long been used to transport people and goods in and out of Gaza. Egypt controls the only crossing into Gaza not overseen by Israel.

Palestinian killed

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israel Defense Forces soldiers during an overnight raid in the Dheisheh refugee camp south of Bethlehem in the West Bank on Tuesday morning.

Malik Akram Shaheen sustained a bullet wound to the head, and later died of his injuries, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency. After the incident at the Dheisheh camp, clashes broke out at Aida, another camp in Bethlehem, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

A statement from the Israeli military said that 21 people were arrested in overnight operations in the West Bank overnight. Sixteen of those detained were suspected of participating in terror activities or civil disturbances.

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