STORY: :: Israeli Army

Israeli forces have taken control of a buffer zone along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, giving Israel effective authority over the Palestinian territory's entire land border.

That's according to Army spokesperson Daniel Hagari on Wednesday.

He said that Israeli forces has gained "operational control" over the so-called 'Philadelphi Corridor', which he said had served as the "pipeline through which Hamas engaged in smuggling in Gaza strip on regular basis," referring to the armed Palestinian group that governs the blockaded territory.

:: Israeli Army

Hagari did not spell out what he meant by 'operational control,' but an Israeli military official earlier said there were "boots on the ground" along parts of the nearly 10-mile-long corridor.

This video released by Israeli army is said to show operations in Rafah.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the location or the date when the videos were filmed.

The area along Gaza's southern edge is the territory's only land border that previously was not directly controlled by Israel.

:: May 29, 2024

Hagari said Israeli forces located some 20 tunnels along the corridor, and that soldiers discovered and destroyed a near mile-long tunnel route in eastern Rafah containing "large quantities of weapons," with the entrance shaft found near the Rafah Crossing.

Egyptian state-affiliated media reported that a "high-level" Egyptian source denied Israeli reports on the existence of tunnels along the shared border.

:: May 28, 2024

Hagari's statement came as Israel continued its deadly raids on Rafah in southern Gaza, despite an order from the International Court of Justice for a halt to the attacks on the city, where half of Gaza's 2.3 million people had previously taken refuge.

The United Nations says a million Gazans, most already displaced, have been forced to move again since Israel launched its assault on Rafah in early May.

The assault has also cut off aid routes, worsening the humanitarian catastrophe from malnutrition and a collapsed health system.