Israel Takes Control of Gaza-Egypt Corridor

Military calls it the 'oxygen line of Hamas'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2024 4:26 PM CDT
Israel Takes Control of Gaza-Egypt Corridor
Palestinians flee from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.   (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Israel's military said Wednesday it seized control of a strategic corridor along Gaza's border with Egypt to cut off smuggling tunnels. The capture of the Philadelphi Corridor could complicate Israel's relations with Egypt, which has previously complained about Israel's advance toward its border, the AP reports. Israel says the corridor is awash in tunnels that have funneled weapons and other goods for Hamas—even under a yearslong blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.

  • "The Philadelphi Corridor served as the oxygen line of Hamas through which Hamas carried out weapons smuggling into Gaza on a regular basis," said the military's spokesperson.
  • Egypt has said that any increase in troops in the strategic corridor would violate the countries' 1979 peace accord. It has already complained about Israel taking over the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

  • An Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations, said Israel had notified Egypt of the takeover. He said some 20 tunnels, including some that were previously unknown to Israel, had been found during the operation, as well as 82 access points to those tunnels. It was not clear if the tunnels are currently operational.
  • The narrow corridor—about yards wide in parts—runs the 8.6-mile length of the Gaza side of the border with Egypt. The corridor is part of a larger demilitarized zone along both sides of the entire Israel-Egypt border.
  • Earlier Wednesday, a top Israeli official said Israel's war with Hamas is likely to last through the end of the year. National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told Kan public radio that he was "expecting another seven months of fighting" to destroy the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group. "The army is achieving its objectives," but it has said from the start that the "war will be long," he said. "They have designated 2024 as a year of war."
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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