IDF Mulls Corridor Takeover

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will be ready to resume control of the Philadelphi Corridor, the narrow strip of land separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt, should that become necessary.

On Wednesday, Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post they're drawing up operational plans for presentation to the "political echelon" to retake the Philadelphi Corridor.

After Israel's August 2005 withdrawal from the Gush Etzion Settlement Bloc in the Gaza Strip, the IDF turned over control of the border to Egypt.

Two weeks ago on January 23, Hamas destroyed much of the concrete wall built by Israel near the Rafah crossing, allowing tens of thousands of Palestinians to enter Egypt.

According to Shin Bet (General Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, the open border allowed "high quality weaponry" to be smuggled into Gaza more easily than through smuggling tunnels.

"All activities that previously took place underground can now take place far more easily above ground," Diskin told ministers at a security briefing early earlier this week.

Defense officials also said that if and when Palestinians in the Gaza Strip begin supplementing Kassam rocket attacks on Israel with longer-range weaponry, the operation could be expedited.

"At the moment, we're fighting against the Kassam, which is a 'statistical weapon,'" a defense official said. "If this changes and they begin firing large numbers of long-range Katyusha rockets that would not only strike at Sderot, but at Kiryat Gat and Netivot, then there may be a need for an operation," he said.

The multi-faceted plan includes rebuilding destroyed sections of the steel and concrete wall to reseal the border, reassessing weaponry and fighting capabilities of Hamas, and locating and destroying the terror group's weapons warehouses near Rafah.

According to the Post, an exit strategy, once the IDF accomplished its goals, has yet to be formulated.

Israel would expect Egypt to step up efforts to thwart arms smuggling and also disallow the free movement of terrorists to and from the Gaza Strip.

Source: The Jerusalem Post 

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