IDF conducts wave of strikes near Philadelphi Corridor

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The IDF carried out an extensive wave of airstrikes in the Rafah area, including near the Philadelphi Corridor along Gaza’s border with Egypt, media outlets in Gaza reported on Saturday. The strikes targeted what the IDF assessed to be Hamas underground infrastructure located beneath the corridor separating Egypt and Gaza.

An IDF statement Saturday night confirmed that the IDF and Shin Bet had conducted strikes in the area, saying that the strikes had hit Islamic Jihad operatives and terrorist infrastructure, adding that no damage was caused to the nearby hospital.

The Philadelphi Corridor and the border between Gaza and Egypt are at the center of the dispute between Jerusalem and Cairo. According to reports, the main agreement is that Israel will operate in the Rafah area, but will do so only after a significant evacuation of the Gazan population of approximately one million people who reside there.

Palestinians inspect the damage from an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on February 18, 2024 (credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)

Reports of Gulf State assistance to stop arms smuggling

The Philadelphi Corridor is problematic for Israel due to the smuggling of arms from Egypt into Gaza, and thus into the hands of Hamas. In 2005, the government approved the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Corridor to the area of Kerem Shalom. The segment between the Gaza Strip and Kerem Shalom came under Egyptian control, and the Rafah area came under the control of the Palestinian Authority; arms smuggling increased in the wake of this transfer of power.

It has been reported that an Arab Gulf state, as yet un-named, will finance an underground wall to prevent traffickers from smuggling illegal arms through tunnels from Egypt into Gaza. The Gulf state agreed to provide the funding for this, but only on the condition that there would be full Egyptian approval for the entire process.


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