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Hamas Seeks to Reassure Egypt by Building Buffer Zone - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ramallah– Heavy vehicles and bulldozers that belong to the Hamas-led interior ministry have began dredging works along the borders with Egypt, within a plan to build a buffer zone, among other security measures requested by the Egyptian government.

Hamas announced on Wednesday it would establish a buffer zone along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

In a statement on Wednesday, the interior ministry said the move was part of measures aimed at “regulating the southern border with Egypt”.

The ministry’s undersecretary Tawfiq Abu Naem said in the statement that the first phase would include paving the 12-kilometer borderline and setting up surveillance cameras, control towers and a light system.

“The measures come in the context of the outcomes and understandings reached during the recent visit of a security delegation to Egypt,” he added.

He noted that the buffer zone would be of a 100-meter depth and would be a closed military zone.

“We reassure the Egyptian side that Egypt’s national security is Palestine’s national security,” he stated.

“We would not tolerate any threat to the stable security situation on the southern border,” the Hamas official added.

Well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that an agreement was reached to deploy Hamas-led security forces along the borders.

They added that during previous bilateral meetings, Egypt has repeatedly accused Hamas officials of failing to monitor the borders, and has urged them to prevent the infiltration of extremists into the Egyptian territories.

The sources added that Hamas has denied all accusations and has pledged to take the appropriate measures to improve the security, including the construction of a buffer zone.