Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Egypt to Provide Hamas with Barb Wires, Surveillance Cameras | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Boy at Rafah crossing (AFP)

Ramallah– A technical committee from Gaza strip will head to Egypt to execute the agreement reached with the Egyptian government during Hamas’ visit to Cairo few weeks ago, according to Deputy Interior Minister of Hamas Lieutenant Toufik Abu Naim.

Abu Naim said that Egypt expressed its willingness to provide barb wires, surveillance cameras and other equipment to enhance the security measures on the border between Egypt and Gaza.

He said Hamas is asking Egypt for materials to complete the project including “barbed wires, cameras, lighting, and heavy equipment to demolish the tunnels.”

Hamas began building a new buffer zone along the southern border with Egypt as some inside the Palestinian movement seek improved ties with Cairo and seek to assure the Egyptian authorities that it’s serious about preventing the cross-border flow of weapons and militants.

“It will be a closed military area and therefore it will be easier to oversee the border and prevent smuggling of drugs and infiltrators,” said Abu Naim.

Bulldozers were expected to demolish a series of homes and structures along the border.

The buffer zone, according to Abu Naim, is part of the ministry’s plan to control and enhance the security status on the southern border of the strip.

The 100m-wide “safe area”, stretching 12 km along the border between the Palestinian enclave and Egypt, is to be equipped with surveillance cameras and military posts.

Earlier in June, Egypt invited a high-ranking Hamas delegation, including Abu Naim, for negotiations in Cairo.

Phase two of the process is supposed to include the deployment of a large number of Hamas security forces all over the border which will remain there permanently.

Sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that an agreement with Egypt had been reached to equip the area and better control the region around the clock.

Egyptian authorities had repeatedly asked Hamas to control the border preventing extremist members from infiltrating from and into Sinai. It also requested halting any operations to dig new tunnels or smuggle weapons.

Hamas in turn had increased its security measures, stationed troops on the border, and built watchtowers there in recent months but Egypt was not satisfied.

Abu Naim’s statements indicate that the relations are improving, especially after Hamas dissociated itself from Muslim Brotherhood and ended all ties with it.

Hamas officials expect Egypt to open Rafah crossing before Adha Eid.