Hamas expand into Northern Sinai - move may be permanent

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Hamas expand into Northern Sinai - move may be permanent

This is a worrying situation for both Israel and Egypt. Hamas's show of force in demolishing the border defences with Egypt at Rafah mean that there will be open movement between Gaza and Egypt in an area where Israel cannot patrol.

By demolishing the 10-km concrete barrier dividing the Gaza Strip from Egyptian Sinai, Hamas, backed by 200,000 Palestinians who surged across Wednesday, has acquired a new stronghold outside Israel’s military reach.

The Egyptian president's main worry is not the Palestinian issue but concern that his own opposition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, may adopt Hamas tactics and stir up trouble in his cities.

Mubarak said he would leave the situation in northern Sinai as it is for the time being. In other words, his troops would not force the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who swarmed out of Gaza to return home.

Such an effort would be a tall order, anyway. According to information reaching Cairo, Hamas has instructed large numbers of Palestinians who fled Gaza to stay where they are.

Their assignment is to create a bridge between Gaza and the 40,000 Palestinians living in North Sinai. This population ballooned fivefold on Jan. 23 in the space of a few hours.


A Palestinian bulldozer destroys part of the wall along the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip as Palestinians cross into Egypt, in Rafah, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008.

Masked Palestinian gunmen blew holes into the Gaza-Egypt border wall Wednesday, and thousands of Gazans trapped in their territory by a tight blockade poured into Egypt to buy food, fuel and other supplies that have become scarce.

rafah-border-breached.jpg - 36.78kb
By netchicken: posted on 24-1-2008

Israel could use this opportunity to seal off the border and strand those 200,000 Gazans on the Egyptian side permanently. That way Hamas would effectively shift base to the Egypt and Gaza could be used for resettlement or enforce a checkpoint between the Gaza-Egyptian border so as to stop Hamas and weapons from finding their way back into Gaza.

Or another strategy could be to let the Gazans go to Egypt and continue to make Gaza a terrible place to live therefore having the Palestinians relocate to Egypt where they would find it more comfortable than Gaza.

Either way they can end the Gaza problem if they most of the Gazans to move to Egypt, the Gaza problem and hamas would be significantly diluted.
By IAF: posted on 24-1-2008

But then the Hamas problem itself moves into Egypt, which is what Mubarak is afraid of.

If they gained power you have a Hamas problem on a massive scale next door.

Really Egypt cuts its own throat if it lets these people into its country like that without closing the border.

Israel used to have a strip along the Rafah border where they maintained their own border, but they turned that over to Egypt a few years back from memory.
By netchicken: posted on 24-1-2008

This has been made to look like an act of desperation by the media, but it isn't.
Check this out:

... Quote:
Hamas, which took control of the coastal territory last June after a stand-off with Fatah, has denied that its men set off the explosions that brought down as much as two-thirds of the 12-km wall in the early hours.

But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.

That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations between midnight and 1am the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man's land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt. The guard, Lieutenant Abu Usama of the Palestinian National Security, said of the cutting operation: "I've seen this happening over the last few months. It happened in the daytime but was covered up so that nobody would see."

Asked whether he had reported it to the government, he replied: "It was the government that was doing this. Who would I report it to?"

By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 24-1-2008

Is it? Why?
We're getting closer to what? More weapons into Gaza and more Israeli citizens killed?
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 24-1-2008

Anyway, thanks for the elaboration, Mike.

Back to the situation;

The Egyptians appear to be inable to plug the gap in the barrier. Hamas has brought down another section, masked armed men are guarding the breaches and cranes are hoisting crates of unknown items into Gaza. Anyone who thinks this is all humanitarian is smoking some very bad stuff. All this Hamas-created drama has done is place the Israelis in more danger and insure that any hopes at a peace with Arab-Palestinians is less likely.
That is probably good, though. All "peace" with the Arab-Palestinians would mean is that they would have better opportunities at attacking Israel.

... Quote:
Cranes were positioned next to the border, lifting crates of supplies over into Gaza.

Egyptian forces took up positions a few steps into Palestinian territory, using shields to protect themselves from some Gazans who climbed atop car roofs and threw stones at them. Witnesses said a photographer was lightly injured in the clash.

At other checkpoints, Palestinians continued to pour into Egyptian territory, loaded with empty canisters to fill with fuel sold in the Egyptian border town of Rafah.

Why is the breach in the barrier bad?
... Quote:
Hamas planning to launch attacks from Sinai
Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip have used the newly open border with Egypt to send numerous terrorists into the Sinai peninsula over the last two days, with the goal of then sending them from Sinai into Israel to commit attacks, defense officials said Thursday.

The Israel Defense Forces, the police and the Shin Bet security service have consequently beefed up their forces and their alert level along the Israeli-Egyptian border in an effort to thwart infiltrations. Should terrorists succeed in entering Israel from Sinai, one defense official said, they might commit suicide bombings, kidnap soldiers or civilians, or attack small agricultural communities or military outposts.

In addition, the counterterrorism unit in the Prime Minister's Office warned Israelis against visiting Sinai and urged those who are already there to leave, since the flow of terrorists from Gaza also increases the likelihood of terror attacks in Sinai's tourist resorts. Egypt is also worried about the possibility of terror attacks in Sinai.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 26-1-2008

... Quote:
CAIRO, Egypt At least 36 Egyptian security personnel have been hospitalized, including some in critical condition, due to incidents with Palestinians on the Gaza border, the Egyptian foreign minister announced Saturday.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters following a meeting with the Egyptian president and several cabinet ministers, that between 10 and 12 riot police and 26 border guards, including two senior officers, were all in the hospital, some in danger of losing their lives, due to "actions by Palestinian elements" over the past two days.

"These provocations cause us concern and our Palestinian brothers should note that the Egyptian decision to host them and ease their suffering should not result in threats to the lives of our sons in the Egyptian forces," he said.


Seen any pics of the items being brought back? Motorcycles and cigarettes ease suffering? Cranes lifting crates over the wall and nobody knows what was in the crates?

This is war. Gaza refuses to halt its war against Israel. The hostile entity was isolated, in order to give it cause to cease hostilities. Egypt can put whatever spin they want on this but the facts still remain the same. The uncontrolled border crossing means anything and everything, anyone and everyone, has crossed the border.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 27-1-2008

Man, I am so pleased that this life-saving piece of humanitarian need made it across the border without a scratch!

By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 27-1-2008

Egypt has decided to close its breached border with Gaza on Sunday, and Hamas will not stand in the way, a Hamas leader said Saturday, after holding talks with Egyptian officials.

At the same time, Egypt has agreed to coordinate with Hamas on some border issues and to enable thousands of Palestinians stuck in Egypt to head to third countries for which they have visas or residency permits, senior Hamas hardliner, Mahmoud Zahar, said after returning to Gaza from Cairo.

These travelers are currently waiting in the Egyptian border town of El Arish for Egyptian approval to continue their travels.

Egyptian officials were not available for comment on the Hamas claims. It was unclear whether the border would be sealed hermetically, as it was before Hamas blew up sections of the border wall on January 23, ending a seven-month blockade by Israel and Egypt. It also wasn't clear to what extent, if at all, Hamas' demand to be given a say in running the Egypt-Gaza border was being considered.

Hamas allows Egypt to close border

How about that? This terrorist organization is going to allow a sovereign nation to close its border. Does that sound crazy to anyone else?
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 3-2-2008

RAFAH, Gaza Strip Egyptian troops closed the last breach in Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, ending 11 days of free movement for Palestinian residents of the blockaded territory, witnesses and Hamas security officials said.

The troops were allowing Gazans and Egyptians to cross the border to return to their homes on the other side but prevented any new cross-border movement, according to witnesses and Hamas security officials in the border town of Rafah.

Egyptian soldiers patrolled in armored personnel carriers and stood in sandbagged emplacements on nearby rooftops, and dozens of Gazans looked on as the Egyptians resealed the border, the Hamas security officials said. No violence was reported.

The Hamas officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Israel issued no immediate comment on the closure.

Hamas militants blew up section of the Gaza-Egypt border wall on Jan. 23 in an attempt to end a seven-month blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel with Egypt's cooperation. The move allowed hundreds of thousands of Gazans to stock up on supplies in Egypt.

A senior Hamas leader said Saturday after meeting with Egyptian officials that Egypt would close the border in coordination with the militant group, which seized control of the territory in June.

But Mahmoud Zahar said the closure would be temporary while the Egyptians search for a way to reopen the border. Egyptian officials were not available for comment on the Hamas claims. It was not clear whether Egypt was considering the group's demand for a say in running the Egypt-Gaza border.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 4-2-2008

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