Egypt doubling Gaza buffer

2015-01-08 19:45
An Egyptian army watch tower near the border with the southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Moussa, AP)

An Egyptian army watch tower near the border with the southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Moussa, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

El-Arish  - The Egyptian army is doubling the size of a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip, an operation that will involve the destruction of 1 220 more homes and the eviction of residents, military officials said on Thursday.

The operation will expand the existing 500m buffer zone in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. The buffer was created last November to a full kilometre, a move meant to halt the passage of weapons and militants through cross-border smuggling tunnels but which also puts more pressure on the Palestinian militant Hamas group, which rules the coastal area.

The expansion of the buffer zone is expected to be completed by the middle of next week, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media. They added that the army plans to compensate the evicted families.

But the creation of the buffer has drawn criticism of the authorities. The forced evictions are displacing a restive population with long standing grievances against the Egyptian government.

North Sinai is one of Egypt's poorest districts, and the local population has complained of neglect and discrimination for decades.

Military and police have come under escalating attacks as authorities battle a low-level insurgency in Sinai, which intensified following the ouster in July 2013 of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the subsequent crackdown on his supporters.

Egypt announced the first stage of the demolition plan in October, after militants killed 31 Egyptian troops in an assault on a checkpoint 30km from the border town of Rafah, the deadliest attack on Egypt's army in recent history.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Most Read
News In Your Area
Top Lifestyle
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.