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Egypt rejects Israeli accusations

Cairo, Apr 23 (Prensa Latina) The Egyptian government reaffirmed that it has full control over its territory and rejected Israeli accusations of alleged trafficking of weapons and ammunition to Gaza.

“Some 1,500 tunnels connecting the Strip with our country were destroyed and the border wall was reinforced,” Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service, said in a statement. “Our country exercises total control over its entire northeastern border, both with Gaza and Israel,” stressed the officer, who questioned statements on the subject by Israel.

Rashwan also denied recent comments made by Israeli authorities, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who estimated that weapons, explosives, and ammunition are being smuggled into Gaza from Egyptian territory. “The world is aware of the efforts made by our authorities during the last 10 years to secure the Sinai Peninsula, including the border,” the official stated about the military campaign to eradicate radical groups on the peninsula. “Egypt suffered a lot from these tunnels during the fierce confrontation with terrorist groups in the Sinai after the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in June 2013,” he indicated, ans recalled that Egypt suffered more than three thousand deaths and 13 thousand injuries due to the conflict in the Sinai during that decade.

“For this reason, we expanded a five-kilometer buffer zone from the Egyptian city of Rafah to the border with Gaza and destroyed more than 1,500 tunnels,” Rashwan explained. “We also reinforced the border with a concrete wall six meters high and six meters underground,” he said.

Last January, Rashwan accused Israel of limiting the entry of humanitarian aid to the besieged Strip and described Israel’s allegations against Egypt as false. “Our national sovereignty extends only to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, while the other side of it, in Gaza, is subject to the authority of the real occupants,” he stressed, noting that on numerous occasions Israel stated that The Rafah crossing from the Egyptian side is open without interruption.