Interior Ministry says 2 Hamas members arrested in Sinai

Security services in Sinai arrested Sunday two members of the Ezz Eddin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm, according to the Interior Ministry.

Bassam Mahmoud Baraka, 34, and Haytham Ibrahim Shehata, 37, both from Ramallah, were ambushed by security staff while riding in a taxi, a security source from the ministry said.

The suspects admitted entering Sinai through border tunnels in Rafah, the source said. They were referred to the military prosecution for questioning.

Around 1,000 underground tunnels are thought to have been dug in recent years along the 13-km border between Egypt and Gaza, providing a lifeline for the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza after Israel imposed a blockade on the territory after Hamas took power in 2007.

The tunnels are usually 25 meters deep and more than 600 meters long, according to press reports. They link open areas inside Gaza with farms and houses on the Egyptian side.

Israel has frequently accused Hamas of using them to smuggle weapons.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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