In photo: Left: Yahya al-Sinwar (pink shirt, center) head of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip, pays a visit to the Rafah-Egypt border to inspect the construction of the buffer zone (Facebook page of the Hamas ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, July 5, 2017). Right: Carrying out construction on the Palestinian side of the Rafah-Egypt border (Facebook page of the Hamas ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, June 29, 2017).

At the end of June 2017 the Hamas ministry of the interior and national security in the Gaza Strip began work on the foundations of a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The objective of the zone is to increase Hamas’ control over the border area in order to prevent smuggling and keep terrorist operatives from entering and leaving the Gaza Strip. The zone will be 12 kilometers (about 7.5 miles) long and reach from Kerem Shalom to the sea. In most places it will be between 50 and 150 meters (55 and 165 yards) wide. It will have a paved asphalt road and the existing embankment will be renovated and covered with barbed wire. Observation towers will be constructed and the zone will be a system of floodlights and a network of security cameras will be installed.

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