Israel Claims Control of Crucial Egypt Border Crossing

( – Israel announced on Wednesday, May 29th, that the Israeli military had taken control of an area known as the Philadelphi corridor which is a roughly eight-mile stretch of borderland between Egypt and Gaza. Israel discovered around 20 tunnels with 82 access points, some large enough for vehicles. Israel believes Hamas has been using the tunnels to smuggle weapons and supplies into Gaza.

The corridor is located within a demilitarized zone that spans the entire border between Israel and Egypt. Under a 1979 peace accord, each side is allowed a small deployment of border guards. Egypt issued a warning to Israel earlier this year that increased Israeli forces occupying the corridor would be considered a “serious threat.”

The Egyptian government has been displeased with Israel’s offensive military campaign in Gaza, especially the recent ground operation in Rafah. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have sheltered in the southern Gaza city that borders Egypt. Egypt is concerned that Palestinian civilians will flee across the border into Egypt to escape the fighting if Israeli military forces continue to push deeper into Rafah. Israeli forces had previously seized the Rafah border crossing causing concern for the Egyptian government.

The Israel-Hamas war has killed more than 35,000 people since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th. Palestinians in areas of Gaza, including Rafah, are facing extreme famine. Aid trucks cannot pass through certain areas to reach those in desperate need. Israeli officials have said they expect the fighting to last until at least the end of the year. Rzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser, said to expect “another 7 months of fighting” before Hamas is destroyed. He said the army has designated 2024 as “a year of war.”

The United States and other Israeli allies have warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against a full offensive in Rafah, but have not interfered. The International Court of Justice ordered a halt to the operation in Rafah last week.

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