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Egyptian army launches campaign to create buffer zone on Gaza border
Published Saturday 15/02/2014 (updated) 19/02/2014 16:36
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(MaanImages/file)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian border forces destroyed 10 tunnels and seven homes in the Sinai on Saturday as part of new campaign to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip that would extend 500 meters in some places.

The campaign began with a military operation in the border town of Rafah, where tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip were targeted in the neighborhoods of al-Brahma, al-Sarsuriya, Salahudeen, al-Helwat, and Zoraba, an Egyptian security source said.

The security source added that the tunnels were destroyed and the homes they were located in were subsequently blown up.

He explained that the move was part of a wider campaign to set up a buffer zone along the border with Gaza in Rafah that would extend 300 meters in populated areas and 500 meters in open areas.

The zone would potentially threaten dozens of homes in the city, which has been divided by the international border since the 1982 Camp David peace accord. Thousands were displaced in the early 2000s when Israel demolished homes to build a buffer zone on the Palestinian side.

The Egyptian security source also told Ma'an that Egyptian army forces on Saturday successfully foiled three explosive devices placed in military vehicles and armored cars in Sheikh Zuwaid, including two that were placed near the Sheikh Zuweid Hospital and a third on the road to a nearby village south of Sheikh Zuewid.

He added that army forces raided "militant strongholds" in the village of al-Kharuba south of Sheikh Zuweid and destroyed three homes and five "hideouts."

They also destroyed an olive grove that was reportedly used to hide militants following attacks taking place on the nearby road to Rafah International crossing.

Egyptian armed forces launched large scale military action against militants in the Sinai Peninsula earlier in September, in what officials described as the largest mobilization of force in the area since the 1973 war with Israel. The military action comes in the wake of rising instability and almost daily attacks in the region, following a July 3 coup by the Egyptian military which unseated President Mohammad Morsi.

Until July of this year, tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory amidst the otherwise crippling Israeli blockade. The blockade has been in place since 2006, and it has limited imports and exports and led to a major economic decline and wide-reaching humanitarian crisis.

Since the coup against Egyptian president Morsi in July, however, Egypt has strictly enforced the blockade and targeted the tunnels.

Egyptian Maj. Gen. Ahmad Ibrahim said in October that nearly 800 tunnels had been destroyed since the beginning of the year at that time, while Rafah officials estimated in September that these operations had demolished 95% of previously existing tunnels.
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1 ) Johnny benson / USA
15/02/2014 21:38
Now...how dumb are the Hamas bosses, to aggravate the Egyptians ....there. Was no gain for Hamas for supporting terror attacks on Egyptians in the desert

2 ) JoeUSA / USA
15/02/2014 22:28
Shame on the Egyptian Authorities who are doing the same hostile policies that Irarel is doing against the Gazans.

3 ) Outlier / USA
16/02/2014 02:18
Hamas brought this on and Gazans have it - and only it - to blame for their misery.

4 ) spb / usa
16/02/2014 02:41
crippling blockade let me see. 70% of the power comes to gaza from israel. humaniterian supplies come from israel. food too. medical procedures gazens do in israel. ah, but israel won't allow rockets and explosive shipments which are used against us. nor the cement used to build terror tunnels from gaza to israel.

5 ) Border / Crossing
16/02/2014 03:41
What happened with brotherly love between palestinians and Egyptians? Is it all gone? And what is about that buffer zone along border line between Gaza and Egypt - how it is different from the buffer zone along border line between Gaza and Israel? Please, just do not tell me that Egypt is also run by Zionists.

6 ) E / usa
16/02/2014 06:58
To #2. Stop blaming israel and egypt. Its palestinian fault and only theirs because of their so called armed resistance. Hamas doesn't want peace so blame them for their policies

7 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
16/02/2014 09:42
Shame on American fools like Joe who support Hamas fascism against their own people.

8 ) Dimi / Germany
16/02/2014 11:02
If I remember well Gaza strip was an integrated part of Egypt up to 1967-war. Consequently Egypt has more than one reason to protect his population/army from the danger emanating from the strip. To me the global situation can for ever be settled if Egypt brings back the Gaza strip to Egypt.It will be good for Egypt,Israel,PA,Jordan and Palestinian people, the only-loosers will be Hamas.

9 ) Marivel Guzman / United States
16/02/2014 13:10
Just BS propaganda of Egypt partnering in crime with Israel to cripple more Palestine to force the factions to accept the conditions of "Peace" brokered by US. What ashamed that the deaths of hundreds of Egyptian during the revolution was been hijacked by Israel :( as always , Israel the rotten fruit rotting the good fruit. Egypt didn't have much violence and Gaza does not have the financial means to export violence to Egypt. Fools who ever believe this crap written in Israel Netayahu offices.

10 ) Henri / France > Israel
16/02/2014 13:16
@5 Border / Crossing The huge difference between the buffer the two buffer zones is...... The one Egypt creates is 500 meters wide and the one Israel maintains is only 300 meters !!!!

11 ) Dear / Jonny
16/02/2014 14:04
Have you ever thought that it is not Hamas pulling the agenda in the Sinai. If you were a wise man you would look to see who benefits from these attacks. (sadly I dont think intelligence is your strong point )

12 ) Dear / Henri
16/02/2014 18:22
The difference between the two buffer zones is.....Egypt are putting the buffer zone on the Egyptian side. While the Israelis put the buffer zone on the Palestinian side ( taking up 25% of the available agricultural land ).

13 ) Robby / USA
16/02/2014 18:53
9 ) Marivel Guzman / United States - Egypt is a sovereign nation and makes it's own choices. Just how did Israel hijack the Egyptian revolution?

14 ) Marivel Guzman / United States
16/02/2014 21:44
Sure Robby, it is nice to think that countries are sovereign nations, but once they take financial aid from US/IMF/ and World Bank they are subject to the same US/UK policy of control. Egypt has being receiving billions of dollars from the US, aid that does not unattached, and enough to said US works for Israel's security and financial interest (even more important that our own), saying that the rest should be obvious. Israel benefit from the situation of the Sinai and the crippling situation.

15 ) Marivel Guzman / United States
16/02/2014 21:46
Robby it is common sense, it is understandable and more important it is obvious what we are seeing in the area, where Israel benefit from the situations at play in the region; first selling arms to rebels and crying wolf, then crippling Gaza to use as a card to pull Palestinians factions to accept its own agenda to accept the Jews state installed in Palestinian land.

16 ) Arnold / Canada
18/02/2014 00:34
Joe /USA. The Israelis are intelligent people. The Egyptians are learning finally.

17 ) Robby / USA
20/02/2014 16:28
14, 15: All they have to do is say no to the aid. Egypt's GDP is around $250 Billion, they do not live or die on a couple of billion. Saudi just announced another $4 billion in aide for Egypt, plus a bunch more from other Arab countries, hardly Israeli allies. "it is common sense" - it makes sense for Israel to have stable neighbors, just as it does for everyone else. I think what you mean is "it makes common sense to blame Israel/US".
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