Israel considers seizing Gaza border with Egypt to stop smuggling tunnels

January 12, 2009

(ChattahBox) – A risky strategy is being reportedly strongly considered by Israeli military, to keep Hamas from rearming easily.  Western diplomats said on Monday, the plan being considered is the retaking of the narrow stretch of land that separates the coastal enclave of Gaza from Egypt.
Israel has intensified its aerial bombardment of the 14-km (9 mile)-long so-called Philadelphi corridor and parts of the town of Rafah to destroy smuggling tunnels that the Islamist group could use to move fighers, longer-ranged rockets, and funds, in and out of the war zone.

The tunnels include deep passages wide enough to bring through items as large as farm animals and Katyusha rockets. A ground operation along the corridor would allow Israel to use bulldozers and sonar equipment to root out tunnels that have yet to be destroyed with air power alone.

Holding the Philadelphi corridor would leave ground troops open to rocket attacks and ambush. So Israel might choose to instead use the small area as a bargaining chip in ceasefire talks, as Israel has demanded security guarantees from Egypt and Western powers to ensure the tunnels are not rebuilt.


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