Egypt denies breach of Gaza barrier
Smugglers have not breached an underground steel wall erected by Egypt to curb smuggling through tunnels along the border with Gaza, a security source said Saturday.
The source, who spoke to thee German Press Agency dpa on condition of anonymity, said the barrier was still under construction and would not be completed until the end of 2010.
Media reports said the wall was breached 100 times as smugglers cut through it, and Israeli newspapers quoted smugglers as saying that the barrier was never a "serious obstacle".
An official in Rafah said house owners along the border were being offered compensation so that drilling work and construction of the the barrier can be completed.
Egypt has been cracking down on the smugglers. On Friday, police said they destroyed three tunnels used to smuggle cars, food and medical goods from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian smugglers have dug thousands of tunnels since Israel imposed a blockade on the impoverished enclave around four years ago.
Last month, Israel eased the blockade.
Egypt began erecting the underground barrier under international pressure to curtail weapons smuggling through the tunnels. It has justified the step as a matter of "national security" and "sovereignty."