JERUSALEM – Israel (search) and Egypt have reached an agreement to have 750 Egyptian troops take control of a volatile Egypt-Gaza border corridor from Israeli forces, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday.
The transfer of border supervision to the Egyptians is key to ending Israel's 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip (search). An agreement had been held up by Israeli concerns that weapons and explosives would be smuggled across the border from Egypt's (search) Sinai Peninsula into Gaza, once its troops leave as part of the Gaza evacuation.
"This agreement ... gives comprehensive — and I emphasize comprehensive — responsibility to the Egyptians regarding the prevention of weapons smuggling in the Philadelphi corridor (search) in tunnels and above ground, into the Gaza Strip," Mofaz told Army Radio.
Israel completed the evacuation of all 21 civilian settlements in Gaza on Monday.