Rafah residents protest home demolitions

According to protesters, at least 10 houses, out of a total of 50 in the whole area, have been demolished in recent days

Rafah residents protest home demolitions

World Bulletin/News Desk

Tens of residents of the Sarsouria neighborhood of Rafah town staged on Monday a protest against the demolition for their homes as part of the army's anti-tunnel campaign.

According to protesters, at least 10 houses, out of a total of 50 in the whole area, have been demolished in recent days.

The rest are subject to demolition because the area houses several smuggling tunnels, they added.

Earlier in the day, cars with loudspeakers roamed Rafah to call residents to join a protest against the military's demolitions of homes built on holes of smuggling tunnels with the adjacent Gaza Strip as well as an arrest campaign targeting innocent residents.

Owners of houses built on tunnel holes said the army has been adopting a new tactic to combat tunnel smuggling by demolishing their homes.

"It is not easy for tunnel owners to give up the huge smuggling revenues," one of the owners, who identified himself as Ibrahim H., told Anadolu Agency.

"So the coming days would see escalation against the army, especially that some houses have been demolished and their residents have been driven homeless," he added.

Shadi Suleiman, a Rafah resident, said that the demolitions sparked anger among the local community.

"Demolishing the houses of innocent people is unacceptable and we would defy that at any cost. The army should end the smuggling and destroy tunnels, but not at the expense of demolishing our homes."

Last week, five such houses were brought down by army bulldozers, local residents say.

A security source confirmed demolitions, saying at least five houses were destroyed following warnings to their owners.

On Friday, the army said it destroyed 343 border tunnels linking Egypt to the Gaza Strip, 292 of which were flooded with water.

The army's crackdown on Egypt-Gaza border tunnels has squeezed the beleaguered Gaza Strip, which relies heavily on goods smuggled from Egypt.

According to a recent UN report, 80 percent of all tunnel transport activity has been brought to a halt as a result of the army's demolition activities.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2013, 17:56