Smuggling between Sinai, Gaza impossible: SIS chief refutes Israeli claims

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Apr 2024

Diaa Rashwan, the head of the State Information Service, stated that more than 1,500 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt have already been destroyed and the border wall has been strengthened, refuting recurring Israeli allegations that Egypt is a source of weapons smuggled into Gaza.

border fence between Gaza and Egypt
File Photo: Displaced Palestinians walk next to the border fence between Gaza and Egypt, on February 16, 2024, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. AFP


In a statement released on Monday, Rashwan emphasized that Egypt has full sovereignty over its land and exercises complete control over its entire northeastern border with Gaza or Israel.

He pointed out that recent statements by Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have falsely alleged that weapons, explosives, ammunition, and their components are smuggled to Gaza from Egyptian territory, including through tunnels.

Every country in the world is aware of the efforts made by Egypt over the past 10 years to secure Sinai, including the border with Gaza, he continued.

“Egypt itself suffered greatly from these tunnels during the fierce confrontation with terrorist groups in Sinai following the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in June 2013 until 2020,” he said.

The tunnels, he added, had been used to smuggle fighters and weapons into Sinai to carry out terrorist operations, resulting in more than 3,000 martyrs from the army, police, and civilians, and over 13,000 injured.

This situation prompted Egypt to take measures to eliminate these tunnels permanently, he said.

According to Rashwan, a buffer zone was extended five kilometres from the Egyptian city of Rafah to the border with Gaza, and more than 1,500 tunnels were destroyed.

Egypt also reinforced the border with a concrete wall extending six metres high and six metres below ground, he explained.

“There are now three barriers between Sinai and Palestinian Rafah, making it impossible for any smuggling operation,” He said.

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