IDF Establishes Control Over Philadelphi Route, Uncovering Extensive Smuggling Network
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Troops of the 401st Armored Brigade operate in southern Gaza’s Rafah, in a handout image published May 29, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Gaza-Egypt Border, May 29, 2024 – The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Wednesday evening that they have established “operational control” over the entirety of the Philadelphi Route, a critical 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) stretch along the Gaza-Egypt border. This development comes after intensive military operations aimed at disrupting Hamas’s infrastructure in the region.

IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari detailed the operation’s success during a press conference, revealing the discovery of dozens of rocket launchers and at least 20 cross-border smuggling tunnels. According to Hagari, Hamas had strategically positioned these rocket launchers along the route in an attempt to deter Israeli strikes near the Egyptian border.

“The Philadelphi Route has long served as Hamas’s oxygen pipeline for smuggling weapons into Gaza,” Hagari stated. “Our control over this corridor significantly hampers their ability to sustain their military capabilities.”

The tunnels, some previously known to the IDF and others newly discovered, highlight the extensive network Hamas has developed for smuggling purposes. The IDF has begun demolishing these tunnels and continues to update Egyptian authorities on their progress. In addition to the tunnels, the military has located 82 tunnel shafts within the corridor, underscoring the scale of the underground operations.

Currently, IDF troops are stationed along most of the corridor, with a minor section near the coast being monitored through surveillance and firepower. This comprehensive control aims to prevent further smuggling activities and enhance security along the border.

The capture of the Philadelphi Route marks a significant milestone in Israel’s efforts to curtail Hamas’s military operations. By severing this critical supply line, the IDF hopes to diminish the militant group’s ability to conduct future attacks and sustain its armed resistance.

The Philadelphi Route has been a focal point of conflict due to its strategic importance for smuggling goods, weapons, and militants between Gaza and Egypt. The IDF’s recent operation is part of a broader strategy to increase pressure on Hamas and ensure greater security for Israeli borders. The ongoing cooperation between Israel and Egypt is pivotal in these efforts, aiming for regional stability and the prevention of militant activities.

As the IDF continues to fortify its control over the Philadelphi Route, the long-term implications for Hamas’s operational capabilities remain to be seen. The Israeli military’s proactive measures are expected to disrupt the group’s logistical support and weaken its foothold in the region.

The situation remains dynamic, with ongoing surveillance and intelligence operations essential to maintaining security and preventing the resurgence of smuggling activities. The IDF’s latest advancements represent a critical step in the ongoing conflict, reflecting Israel’s commitment to safeguarding its borders and combating terrorism.

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