Via Xinhua, English.news.cn
RAMALLAH, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership expressed Saturday support for Egypt's security measures in North Sinai, including the closure of smuggling tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip's southern border with Egypt.
The West Bank-based Palestinian presidency described the tunnels as "sabotage pathways," calling on Egypt to shut them down because they "harm the brotherly and historical relations between the Egyptian and Palestinian people."
The tunnels are sponsored by the Islamic Hamas movement that wrested control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.
Hamas used the tunnels to bring in goods and food to cope with Israel's closure of the enclave, but it has become easy for people and members of militant groups to enter Sinai via the tunnels.
On Sunday, unknown radical militants attacked an Egyptian security checkpoint in Sinai, leaving 16 Egyptian soldiers killed and seven others wounded.
Some reports said part of the attackers had either come from Gaza or infiltrated into the Gaza Strip through smuggling tunnels between the enclave and Egypt.
Rafah crossing, the only land crossing for the besieged Gaza Strip, was closed after the attack. However, there has been no official conclusion that the attackers came from Gaza.