Hamas builds buffer zone in Gaza

The new buffer zone that is being built along Gaza's southern border with Egypt will feature surveillance cameras and military posts and will prevent smuggling, a Hamas official said.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

After the last round of meetings in Cairo, Hamas cleared land on its side of the border, creating a buffer zone with watchtowers, cameras and barbed-wire fences in a concession to security-conscious Egypt.

Gaza's rulers Hamas said they had begun building a new buffer zone along the southern border with Egypt on Wednesday, as the movement seeks to improve ties with Cairo.

The 100-metre wide "safe area," stretching 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) along the border between the Palestinian 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.

TRT World 's Chelsea Carter has more. 

Fraught with tension

Hamas have had strained relations with Egypt since the overthrow of Egypt's president Mohammed Morsi 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 extremists inside Egypt, including near the frontier.

Cairo also all but closed off the border between Egypt and Gaza, adding to the isolation of the impoverished territory under blockade by Israel for a decade.

In recent months though, relations between Gaza and Cairo have somewhat thawed.

Recently, Egypt began delivering a million litres (264,200 gallons) of fuel to Gaza, temporarily easing a power crisis that has left the Palestinian 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 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to stop paying for it amid a 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.


TRTWorld and agencies