Egyptian Defense in Gaza Takes Cues from Israeli Policies
Gazan Arabs set off an explosive device next to the Gaza border fence as an IDF patrol was passing by early Monday. No one was injured and there was no damage. This was the second such explosive set off by Gaza Arab terrorists in three days, the IDF said.
Egypt, meanwhile, is taking no chances along its border with Gaza. On Sunday, the Egyptian army evicted residents of the homes along the Gaza border and demolished them.
Egyptian officials announced their intention to create a buffer zone around Gaza, 500 meters wide and ten kilometers long. The buffer zone is designed to keep Gaza Arabs, sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, out of Sinai, as the Egyptian Army continues to rout the Islamists who have taken refuge in Sinai, officials said.
The buffer zone is very reminiscent of the “Philadelphia corridor” that Israel had established in Rafiah, prior to the 2005 "disengagement" from Gaza, to prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons from Sinai into Gaza for use against Israel. Egypt sharply criticized Israel at the time for clearing the area several times before the IDF withdrew completely from Gaza.
In recent months, Egyptian officials said, they have destroyed more than 300 smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. Egyptian navy boats have also taken up positions off the coast of Gaza in order to prevent Arab terrorists from sailing from Gaza to Sinai, similar to the patrols that Israel conducts off the Gaza coast, enforcing the blockade of Gaza – a blockade that Egypt has also sharply criticized in the past.
On Friday, it was reported that Egyptian army vessels had fired at “fishermen” from Gaza, too. No details were given, but it appeared that the “fishermen” were on their way to Egyptian territorial waters. During the firefight, Egyptian forces injured two Gaza Arabs. They were taken to a hospital in Rafiah, near the crossing into Sinai. Egyptian soldiers arrested six other individuals, who are currently being questioned by Egyptian officials.