Israel Egypt border 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Egypt is concerned with Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip and has heightened its level of alert along the Philadelphi Corridor in an effort to prevent large-scale arms smuggling and Palestinians from infiltrating into the Sinai, Israeli defense officials said Wednesday.
While arms smuggling through tunnels along the corridor was still a major threat - 30 tons of explosives were smuggled into Gaza in 2006 in comparison to six tons in 200 - the officials said that Egyptian border Policemen stationed in the area were showing signs of improvement in thwarting the smuggling.
The officials voiced concern with the possibility that now that Hamas has taken over complete control of the corridor, the terror group would be able to drastically increase the rate of the smuggling and even infiltrate new weapons - possibly longer-range rockets - into the Gaza Strip.
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Despite the improvement in Egypt's efforts, the defense officials said that Israel expected Cairo to do more to stop the arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. Egypt has complained in the past that it needed more policemen along the border - it currently has 750 - in order to crack down on the tunnel industry more effectively. Israel has rejected the claims and says that Egypt, if it only wanted, could do more with the current force deployed along the corridor.