The Gaza withdrawal, meant to end a 38-year Israeli occupation of the area, began last month and is to be completed by 15 September, when the Israeli military pulls out.

 

About 750 lightly armed Egyptian forces are set to take up positions along the border, according to an agreement signed last week between Tel Aviv and Cairo.

 

The accord overrides a demilitarisation clause in the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries.

 

The Israeli Defence Ministry said the first Egyptian forces would arrive on Sunday. It gave no further details.

 

The forces are to deploy along a volatile corridor on the Gaza side of the border where Israeli-Palestinian fighting has been particularly intense.

 

Israel wants the Egyptian forces to prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels.

 

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has said that Israel will leave all of Gaza by mid-September, by which time the Egyptian forces should be fully deployed.