Hamas destroys Gazans homes within 100 meters of border to create buffer zone in bid to ease relations with Egypt.
By AFP – Arutz Sheva
The Hamas terrorist organization said they had begun building a new buffer zone along the southern border with Egypt on Wednesday, as the Islamist movement seeks to improve ties with Cairo.
The 100-meter wide “safe area”, stretching 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) along the border between the enclave and Egypt, will be equipped with surveillance cameras and military posts, officials said.
“It will be a closed military area and therefore it will be easier to oversee the border and prevent smuggling of drugs and infiltrators,” Deputy Interior Minister Tawfiq Abu Naim told AFP.
Bulldozers were expected to demolish a series of homes and structures along the border.
Islamist Hamas has had strained relations with Egypt since the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, in 2013.
The current Egyptian government led by former military leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has closed hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border and accused Hamas of supporting Islamist radicals inside Egypt, including near the border.
Cairo also all but closed off the border between Egypt and Gaza,. Israel, on the other hand, provides Gaza with thousands of truckloads of food as it does not allow goods to reach the region without inspecting them for weapons. Hamas has the stated goal of destroying the Jewish state.
In recent months though, relations between Gaza and Cairo have somewhat thawed.
Last week, Egypt began delivering a million liters of fuel to Gaza, temporarily easing a power crisis that has left the enclave’s two million residents with only a few hours of electricity per day.
The deliveries came two days after Israel started to reduce the electricity it supplies to Gaza, following P A chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to stop paying for it amid a PA dispute with Hamas.
A delegation of Hamas leaders, led by its Gaza head Yahya Sinwar, also recently met with Egyptian officials in Cairo, discussing the border and security, as well as humanitarian suffering in the strip.
“These measures come in the context of the productive recent visit of the security delegation to Egypt and the understandings reached in this context,” Abu Naim said.
He said Hamas wanted to assure Cairo “that Egypt’s national security is Palestine’s national security.”
In April 2016 Hamas set up dozens of new border posts in an attempt to improve relations with Egypt.