Hamas says bulldozers in Gaza are creating a 100-meter-wide (330-foot) buffer zone along the Egyptian border as part of the Islamic militant group’s efforts to combat extremists and improve ties with Cairo.
The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said Wednesday the creation of a 12-kilometer-long (7.5-mile) corridor was agreed upon in recent face-to-face negotiations with Egyptian officials. It expressed hope that Egypt would reopen the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a regular basis once the buffer zone is complete.
Egypt has long accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of aiding an insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula, allegations denied by Hamas. Egypt and Israel have imposed a blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power in 2007.