The Egyptian military denied media reports that Egypt is planning to establish a buffer zone along the Egypt-Gaza borders.
News of the buffer zone was reported by various news services including Al-Jazeera and the Palestine based Ma’an news agency. “It is not true,” said military spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Ali.
Ma’an news agency also reported that 20 homes near the Gaza border in Sarsurriya region were destroyed since Sunday, along with six tunnels which were destroyed using explosives.
Ali denied any knowledge of the matter and said the tunnels are being destroyed at a normal rate.
He added that the tunnels are either destroyed by explosive devices or by immersion and that there is an authority and a military engineers administration that is leading the destruction of the tunnels. The tunnels are being destroyed by the same “equipment, people and leadership” as those during the time of former President Mohamed Morsi, he added.
With regards to reports that the Egyptian army is asking people living near the border to evacuate their homes, the spokesperson said they are not asking everyone, they are only asking people with tunnels inside their houses to evacuate their homes.
Ali also denied Tuesday reports by the Palestine News Network that an Egyptian Navy vessel attacked Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah. “That was a while ago but there is nothing recent,” he said. He added that there are borders for territorial waters and that they should not be breached without permits.
After Morsi was removed from power on 3 July, the Rafah border crossing was shut and re-opened several times. A new policy on the Rafah border crossing reduced the number of people who can cross from 1,200 to 300.