Egypt says Israeli seizure of strategic corridor threatens 1979 peace accord

Egypt says Israeli seizure of strategic corridor threatens 1979 peace accord
Photo: Restricted military zone along border between Egypt and Israel / Courtesy: Shutterstock/A. Pushkin

On Wednesday, Israeli military officials announced the seizure of the Philadelphi Corridor between Egypt and Israel, a move Egypt asserts breaches the 1979 peace accord brokered by both nations.

Israel justified the incursion as a necessary measure to halt Hamas’ smuggling operations. A military official, speaking anonymously, reported the discovery of 20 tunnels and 82 access points. It’s unclear when the tunnels were last used.

Egyptian state media stated there was "no communication with the Israeli side" regarding the tunnel findings.

The 8.6-mile corridor forms part of a larger demilitarized zone along much of the border between the two countries.

According to the 1979 peace accord, both nations are permitted a limited number of troops to secure the zone, with any changes in troop numbers requiring mutual consent. While the Israeli military claims it notified Egypt of its intent to enter the corridor, Egypt contends that any troop increase violates their agreement.

Egypt has repeatedly cautioned that Israel's incursion into Rafah could lead to an influx of Palestinians into Egypt, which is deemed unacceptable by Egyptian authorities.

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