The Gaza strip border-town of Rafah shows Egyptian border guards patrolling on the other side of the border while riding in an armoured personnel carrier. Pic/AFP
The Islamist Hamas movement, which governs Gaza, announced that it has begun to build a buffer zone near the border between the coastal enclave and Egypt.
Head of security in Gaza Tawfiq Abu Naim, told reporters on Wednesday that the aim is to control the border area and increase security on the southern boundary with Egypt, Efe news reported.
According to Abu Naim, the plan includes the levelling of a 12-km long and 100-m wide terrain and the installation of towers, surveillance cameras and lighting, so that the space can be declared a closed military zone and only accessed by security forces. These measures are part of an agreement reached with Egypt, he said.
Last month, a Hamas delegation chaired by the new leader of the Palestinian movement, Yahya Sinwar, headed to Cairo and held nine days of talks with Egyptian security chiefs, in which they discussed how to safeguard the border areas between the two territories.
Egypt criticized that the area was not safe due to the spread of tunnels dug from Gaza towards its territory to overcome the Israeli blockade imposed on the coastal enclave since Hamas came to power in 2007.
The buffer zone prevents drug smuggling and infiltration of criminals from Egypt, and sends the message that Hamas is committed to ensuring full border security, Abu Naim stressed.