Egypt has begun construction to expand its buffer zone from 500 meters to a kilometer wide, along the border with Gaza, as it continues its war on terror in the Sinai Peninsula.
Numerous terrorist groups had already made themselves comfortable in the wide expanses of Sinai when Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi became the first democratically-elected president of Egypt. He was deposed a year later by the military after more than a million citizens protested the hardline Islamist government.
During Morsi’s one-year tenure numerous terrorist groups flocked to the region and set up training and operations bases — including Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others. The local Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, originally linked to Al Qaeda, recently swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.
Originally, the buffer zone was cleared in February 2014 to 300 meters in urban areas. It was 500 meters wide in rural areas.
Security sources told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency some 1,200 houses in the area are to be evacuated and demolished.
Homeowners will be reimbursed by the government, however.
Each homeowner is to receive 1,500 Egyptian pounds ($209) to cover rentals for the next three months, said North Sinai district governor Abd al-Fattah Harhour.
In addition, for each square meter of cement, each family will receive 1,200 pounds $167.) The government will add 700 pounds ($97) for each square meter of the house based on the bearing wall system, Harhour said.
The Egyptian government has been actively destroying smuggling tunnels under the border created by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorists. Hamas was spawned by Egypt’s outlawed radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.