Egypt police arrest Gaza children in Sinai
CAIRO: Egyptian border security have struck again, but this time it arrested 12 Palestinian children who attempted to enter Egypt via an underground tunnel from the Gaza Strip on Monday. It has Egyptian rights groups and human rights advocates angered over the apparent use of force against children.
According to security officials in the Sinai city of al-Arish, the boys, between 10 and 17-years-old, were arrested by police and used to reveal the location of other tunnels being used in the area.
A Bedouin tribal leader, asking not to be named, said that he has heard the security used physical and verbal abuse in order to get information from the children. This could not be confirmed by Bikya Masr.
“We have heard they were threatened by police when they were taken and it could mean they were assaulted. We don’t know anything firm yet,” the leader said.
According to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, their correspondent reported the boys said they were attempting to get out of the economic situation in Gaza, which has been under an economic blockade by Egypt and Israel for nearly three years.
Tunnels that run under the border are the 1.5 million Gazans only outlet to the outside world, but Israel has demanded Egypt crackdown on the use of the tunnels. They argue weapons are being smuggled into Gaza that are used against Israeli targets.
Reports from the border say Egypt is nearing, or has completed, a steel wall that will run under ground in an attempt to cut off tunnel access, but smugglers have reported many tunnels are already deeper than the 20 meter deep wall and will do little to cut off their access to Sinai from Gaza.