Israel says it seized Philadelphi Corridor along Gaza-Egypt border

Ambulances are parked near the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, in Rafah. (File Photo/Reuters)

Israel's occupation forces have claimed to have taken the control of a vital Gaza-Egypt corridor as their ground invasion in the border city of Rafah intensified.

An Israeli military spokesman on Wednesday claimed without proof that about 20 tunnels were found in the area of the corridor, a claim rejected by Egypt which accused Israel of using allegations of tunnels under the border as cover for its Rafah invasion.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces had taken "operational control" of the strategic, 14-kilometre Philadelphi corridor along the Gaza-Egypt border and "discovered around 20 tunnels".

The corridor had served as a buffer between Gaza and Egypt since Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.

Its claimed seizure comes weeks after Israeli troops took over the Palestinian side of the crossing in Rafah where hundreds of thousands of people seeking shelter from Israeli bombardment elsewhere had been displaced, and where intensifying Israeli violence in recent days has killed dozens of Palestinian civilians.

"Israel is using these allegations to justify continuing the operation on the Palestinian city of Rafah and prolonging the war for political purposes," a high-level Egyptian source said, quoted by state-linked Al-Qahera News.

Egypt has said that any increase in Israeli troops in the strategic Philadelphi Corridor would violate the countries' 1979 peace accord.

It already has complained about Israel taking over the Rafah border crossing. The corridor is part of a larger demilitarised zone along both sides of the entire Israel-Egypt border.

Under the peace accord, each is allowed to deploy only a tiny number of troops or border guards in the zone, though those numbers can be modified by mutual agreement.

At the time of the accord, Israeli troops controlled Gaza, until Israel withdrew its troops and illegal Zionist settlers in 2005.

A steady stream of civilians has been fleeing Rafah, the new hotspot in the gruelling Israeli invasion, many transporting belongings on their shoulders, in cars or on donkey-drawn carts.

Before the Rafah invasion began on May 7, the United Nations said up to 1.4 million people were sheltering there. Since then, one million have fled the area, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said.

Genocidal war

Israel has waged a brutal invasion on Gaza since Hamas' October 7 blitz on Israeli military and settlements that were once Arab villages and farms.

Hamas says its raid that surprised its arch-enemy was orchestrated in response to Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque, illegal settler violence in occupied West Bank and to put Palestine question "back on the table."

In an assault of startling breadth, Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside Gaza, including towns and other communities as far as 24 kilometres from the Gaza fence.

At some places they are said to have gunned down many soldiers as Israel's military scrambled to muster response. The hours-long attack and Israeli military's haphazard response resulted in the killing of more than 1,130 people, Israeli officials and local media say.

Palestinian fighters took more than 250 hostages and presently 121 remain in Gaza, including 37 who the Israeli army says are dead, some of them killed in indiscriminate Israeli strikes.

Israel has since then killed more than 36,000 Palestinians — majority of them babies, women and children — and wounded more than 81,000 amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

In the occupied West Ban, more than 500 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded since October 7 by Israeli forces and illegal settlers, along with daily arrest by the Israeli occupation army.

Around 85% of Gaza's 2.4 million people have fled their homes. Severe hunger is widespread, and UN officials say parts of the territory are experiencing famine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice [ICJ], which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure that its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in the enclave.

Last week, the ICJ ordered Israel to halt its Rafah invasion as part of South Africa's case accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.

After passing two resolutions centered on the need for humanitarian aid to people in Gaza, in March the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire — an appeal that had been blocked several times before by the United States, Israel's main ally.


Source: TRT