Egyptian military choppers entered the airspace of the Gaza Strip on Thursday amid an ongoing security crackdown on underground tanks used to smuggle fuel across the Egyptian border into the besieged Palestinian territory, eyewitnesses said.
The Egyptian helicopters were seen hovering over the Palestinian towns of Rafah and Khan Younis, in the south of the strip, the eyewitnesses said.
Security sources told Anadolu Agency that the Egyptian army has launched a security operation in Barahma neighborhood in the west of the Egyptian town of Rafah to destroy the underground fuel tanks on the borderline.
The Egyptian aircraft violated the Gaza airspace several times throughout the day, they added.
The planes hovered at a low altitude over several areas in Rafah that are known for harboring entries to smuggling tunnels with Egypt, they said.
No official statement has been issued by the Egyptian army or the Gaza authorities on the incursion.
In recent years, Gazans have relied on a network of underground tunnels linking the strip with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to smuggle basic commodities and fuel into the coastal enclave, which since 2006 has suffered under a crippling Israeli siege.