Egypt denies fortifying North Sinai's Rafah border crossing with Gaza
A high-level security source denied media reports stating that the Egyptian authorities recently fortified the walls and fences across Egypt's border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip to foil any infiltration attempts into the North Sinai province.
Photos and segments have gone viral over the past few days, showing Egypt's side of the crossing being fortified and barbed wires installed on the fences.
Sinai Foundation for Human Rights posted pictures reportedly taken across the border, showing the fortified walls.
The New Arab could not independently verify the authenticity of the clips in question.
But the security source told TNA, on condition of anonymity, for not being authorised to talk to the media, that "the circulated clips and pictures dated back to earlier operations on the border after the Israeli offensive against Gaza first erupted in October last year."
"The Egyptian border authorities have only been performing repairs on the concrete wall separating Egypt from Gaza and installing new barbed wires in damaged spots, adjusting the border with Gaza," the source explained.
The Rafah Border Crossing, Gaza's only connection to the outside world, had frequently experienced damages by Israeli attacks on the Palestinian side of the crossing, which is believed to have raised the ongoing tension between Egypt and Israel, among other factors.
Around 300,000 Palestinians are estimated to have taken refuge in the Palestinian Rafah city, hoping to cross into Egypt at some point.
Rafah is next to Egypt, where there are growing concerns that Israel would use its war to displace the Palestinians of Gaza across the border into North Sinai, a scheme consistently rejected by the North African state.
Currently, only critical cases and severely injured Palestinians, foreigners, and dual nationals are allowed to enter Egypt through the border crossing, while humanitarian aid supplies cross into Gaza through North Sinai.
Israel's war on Gaza has so far claimed the lives of about 28,000 Palestinians, while about 85 per cent of the enclave's population has been internally displaced, according to official figures.
Despite a provisional ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Israel persisted in its military onslaught on Gaza, still targeting media workers, hospitals, schools, and other civilian infrastructures.
But the Egyptian-Israeli ties have been tense in recent weeks after Israel expressed the intention to enter the Rafah and Philadelphi Corridor area, a 14-kilometre route that runs along Gaza's southern border.
Local and international news reports said that Egypt had reportedly opposed the Israeli plan to establish control on the border region between Egypt and Gaza.
Egypt and Israel have technically been at peace since the late 1970s, sharing solid diplomatic, economic and security ties — despite widespread opposition from the Egyptian public.