Egypt has begun installing cameras and motion sensors along its border with the Gaza Strip to try to combat smuggling into the Palestinian territory, security sources said on Saturday.
"Alarms and surveillance cameras were installed last week along the 14-kilometre (eight-mile) border" to detect activity through smuggling tunnels, a security official said, declining to be named.
The sources said Egyptian authorities had begun installing the equipment two days ago with joint U.S., French and German expertise, and added that they hoped the sensors and cameras would help detect any tunnel construction in the border area.
"Cables that are part of a tunnel detection device are being installed along the Gaza-Egypt border," another security source said, adding the cables were being installed from south of Rafah to the Mediterranean coast.
The source said some cameras and sensors had already been installed, and the cameras would be connected by the cables.
For the 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, the tunnels have become a main source of goods, including fuel, since Israel tightened its embargo after Hamas seized control of Gaza from the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.
Israel bombed the tunnels during its recent 22-day Gaza offensive, and its military fears Hamas could use them to re-arm. But many tunnels have sophisticated systems and seem to have survived weeks of Israeli bombardment.
The United States has pledged 25 million euros ($32 million) in detection equipment to unearth smuggling tunnels, and U.S. army engineers have been providing technical assistance on the ground.
France, meanwhile, has sent a frigate to patrol the waters off Gaza, where more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s assault aimed at halting rocket attacks on its territory and arms smuggling.
(Agencies via Alarabiya.net)