Egypt Expands Border “Buffer Zone” to 1000 Metres – Mena

Egyptian authorities decided on Monday to double the depth of a “buffer zone” security forces are creating on Egypt’s eastern border with the Palestinian Gaza strip to become 1000 metres, reported state-run news agency MENA.

Security forces began evacuating the area bordering Sinai’s Rafah on October 28, as one of the steps taken in response to militant attacks on security personnel in the Peninsula on October 24 which left over 33 killed.

Egypt’s cabinet issued on October 29 a decision to clear 500 metres of the border area with Gaza of civilians, vowing to provide compensation for those evicted.

The decision allows the forcible seizure of the property of those who refuse to comply. It also excludes those who shelter tunnels under their houses from entitlement to compensation.

The expansion is considered a “second phase” for the “buffer zone”, MENA reported.

The decision was made after discovering some tunnels in the Peninsula over 800 metres long, reported MENA.

Security forces have been targeting tunnels dug up in the Sinai to connect it with Gaza. Egyptian authorities say the tunnels are used to smuggle arms to militants in the Peninsula.

According to a surveillance of the area in question, there were 802 houses sheltering 1156 families which needed to be evicted. They included 112 houses which have been affected by the tunnel-destruction operations the armed forces are conducting and 87 more which have already been removed for sheltering illegal tunnels.

The armed forces had announced earlier on Monday that only 93 houses remain until the 500-metre “buffer zone” is created.

Source : Aswat Masriya