Three soldiers died and another was injured Saturday in the North Sinai when a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip collapsed.
In a statement released by the armed forces, one of the soldiers was an officer and the remaining two were conscripts. The injured soldier was also a conscript and was taken to a hospital in Rafah to recover.
The spokesman for the armed forces described the dead as “martyrs of the nation” in the Saturday statement.
According to state-owned MENA news agency, over 1,800 tunnels have been destroyed between the Gaza Strip and Egypt since January 2011. The army has claimed that almost all tunnels connecting the besieged strip with Egypt, used for smuggling crucial goods from Egypt to Gaza, have been destroyed.
The Rafah crossing has also remained closed with only sporadic and brief openings since the ousted of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013 as attacks against the army and security forces in the troubled Sinai Peninsula have skyrocketed.
In a recent statement, rights group Human Rights Watch noted that the closed Rafah crossing “reinforces” the Israeli blockade on the Strip, which the group views as unnecessarily harsh and unjustified.