Fierce clashes erupted on Tuesday morning between Egyptian army forces and Egyptian Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula along the border with the Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses reported.
The witnesses said that the clashes started after Egyptian army forces began razing fields planted with several kinds of vegetables and trees owned by the Bedouins. The Egyptian army claimed that it was searching for underground fuel stores.
But when two military helicopters arrived at the scene, the witnesses said that the clashes stopped. The helicopters dropped statements warning people against helping terrorists in the area.
Khalil Mosa, an Egyptian activist from Sinai, said that more military support from the second field army also arrived on the scene.
Since the removal of freely elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian helicopters have often flown near the Gaza Strip, breaching Gaza’s airspace two times. Two Egyptian tanks also breached Gaza’s borders last week.
An Egyptian pro-coup news website called egy-press.com claimed that Egyptian authorities had approved the military’s breaches of Gaza’s borders with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The website claimed that the arrangement between the Egyptian authorities and Abbas regarding Gaza took place last month during the Egyptian foreign minister’s visit to Ramallah.
According to the same website, the Israeli occupation handed over the security control of the Gaza Strip to the Egyptian intelligence services on 3 July 2013.