Israeli military takes full control of strategic Gaza-Egypt border

NewsBharati    30-May-2024 12:32:04 PM
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Tel Aviv, May 30: In a significant development, Israel’s military on May 29 seized control of a strategic corridor along Gaza’s border with Egypt and has so far located 20 tunnels leading into the Egyptian Sinai. This was to cut off smuggling tunnels as it tries to destroy the militant Hamas group in a war now in its eighth month.
Israeli military takes full control of strategic Gaza-Egypt border

The 14 km strip of land along the border is known as the Philadelphi corridor, a buffer zone created to prevent weapons smuggling in 2006 after Israel disengaged from the Strip. But in 2007, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority.

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces gained “operational control” over the “Philadelphi Corridor” (Israeli military’s code name for the 14 km-long corridor) along Gaza’s only border with Egypt. It said troops were physically present in most of the corridor, except for a portion of near the Mediterranean coast which is controlled by surveillance and firepower.

The army said it was aware of the presence of some of the cross-border tunnels. Another 82 shafts within the corridor area that did not cross the border were also discovered and will be destroyed.

The IDF reportedly found dozens of rocket launchers placed by Hamas along the border, a politically sensitive area. The border is technically a demilitarized zone under the terms of the Camp David Accords signed in 1978.

Israel’s National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said the war in Gaza would continue throughout 2024. Earlier, Israel had said the fighting would not end until all Hamas infrastructures were “dismantled” and rejected an offer that all hostages would be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

The border with Egypt along the southern edge was the Gaza Strip’s only land border that Israel had not controlled directly. “The fighting in Rafah is not a pointless war,” Hanegbi said, reiterating that Israel aimed to end Hamas rule in Gaza and stop it and its allies from attacking Israel.

The army has said from the start the “war will be long,” he said. “They have designated 2024 as a year of war.”

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas's attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 125 remaining hostages, 39 are believed dead.