Sisi Orders Studying Construction of New Rafah City

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi mandated on Wednesday the presidency’s community development council to issue a study regarding the construction of a new Rafah city, following the evacuation of the border area in Rafah.

The study should be presented to the president within 15 days, a statement from the presidency said.

The decision followed a meeting between Sisi and Rafah tribal leaders, held on Monday.

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 last Wednesday 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.

According to a surveillance of the area in question, there are 802 houses sheltering 1156 families which need to be evicted. They include 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.

Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in parts of the Sinai Peninsula in response to the deadly attacks.

Gaza’s ruling body Hamas criticised the buffer zone in a statement last week, saying it would reinforce the siege imposed on the strip since 2007.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.

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.

Source : Aswat Masriya