Israel plans to cut off Gaza from Egypt to curb border smuggling, report says

Wall Street Journal reports Israel informed Egypt of its plans for an operation to seize the Philadelphi Corridor spanning its border with the Palestinian enclave

Israel has informed Egypt of its intention to regain control of the Philadelphi Corridor, along the Egypt-Gaza border, which it controlled until September 2005, shortly after disengagement from Gaza, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing Egyptian and Israeli officials.
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Earlier in the week, The Journal reported that Israel was pressuring Egypt to act against Hamas' smuggling operations along the Philadelphi Corridor. According to the report, Israel seeks to install warning systems along the border to be alerted in real-time about attempts by the terrorist organization to rebuild smuggling tunnels, which have been a significant source of weapons entering Gaza.
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ציר פילדלפי לפני ההתנתקות ב-2005
ציר פילדלפי לפני ההתנתקות ב-2005
Philadelphi Corridor in 2005
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has on several occasions emphasized the importance of Israeli control over the Philadelphi Corridor. Israel aims to counteract Hamas' smuggling activities in the area, with Netanyahu recently saying, "The Philadelphi Corridor must be in our hands, and must be closed."
According to Saturday’s report, Israeli authorities have informed Cairo that Israel is planning a military operation along the Gaza side of the Philadelphi Corridor with the aim of removing Palestinian elements from a central passage in the route and positioning IDF soldiers from its southeast part - bordering both Israel and Egypt - toward the Mediterranean Sea.
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Egyptian side of Philadelphi Corridor, 2015
Egyptian side of Philadelphi Corridor, 2015
Egyptian side of Philadelphi Corridor, 2015
(Photo: Hanan Greenberg)
The 15-kilometer-long Philadelphi Corridor serves as a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. It was established in early 1982 with the transfer of the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian control. Over the years, the route has become significant for terrorist organizations, which have frequently dug tunnels along it for arms smuggling.
Potential Israeli control over the route would effectively sever the Gaza Strip's terrestrial connection with Egypt and the entire Arab world, allowing for its complete encirclement.
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