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Egypt’s buffer zone expansion hurts Hamas’ arms supplies

Egypt’s decision to expand its buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip is a sign that relations with Hamas are no closer to improving.
A member of Palestinian security forces patrols near the border between Egypt and Gaza, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip January 3, 2015. Egyptian border troops shot dead a Palestinian youth as he tried to cross illegally from the Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian and Egyptian sources said. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR4JYK4

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Just when Hamas saw a window of opportunity in improving its relations with Cairo, the Egyptian army made successive moves along the border between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

Abdel Fattah Harhour, governor of Northern Sinai, declared Dec. 31 that Egypt would start to expand the buffer zone on the borderline with Gaza in Rafah city to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) deep. The zone would stretch along 5 kilometers (3 miles), which would allow better surveillance of the region bordering the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the use of tunnels to move weapons, or to make way for militants to pass through, would be forbidden.

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