After clearing away villages and farms within 3 to 5 kilometers of its border with Gaza, Egypt on Monday embarked on the second stage of its plan to protect itself from Hamas terrorists and tunnel smugglers – the construction of a medieval-style moat around Gaza.
Last October, Egypt conducted its own “disengagement,” forcing residents of villages close to the Gaza border to move on. Plagued by smugglers who have transported contraband, drugs, and weapons back and forth between Gaza and Sinai for years, the underground tunnels between Sinai and Gaza have recently become a major security concern for Egypt. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is a loyal ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that the government of Egyptian President Sisi has been battling.
Brotherhood terrorists, running rampant in Sinai, have killed dozens of Egyptian soldiers and ruined Egypt's tourism business, as they conduct a reign of terror in Sinai in an effort to restore their dominance in the country, which was put to a sudden halt when A-Sisi led the army in a coup against Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohammed Morsi.
Now, Egypt is increasing its defenses in Sinai – by building a 20 meter deep moat around Gaza. The moat, officials expect, will prevent tunnels from being built, as Gaza tunnel diggers will be unable to dig deep enough to go under the moat. The moat will be filled with seawater from the Mediterranean.
Egypt several years ago began work on a similar moat, but the project was dropped because of budgetary and technical problems. Israel had considered building a moat as well in 2004, before the disengagement, but that plan was dropped as well.
It's not known if Egypt plans to stock the moat with alligators or other similar natural deterrence methods.