Egypt is evacuating thousands of its residents from the Sinai side of the Gaza border in order to form a buffer zone.
The Egyptian government declared a state of emergency in the area after last week’s attack in which 31 soldiers were killed by the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a terror group linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.
Egyptians began moving from the area on Wednesday in accordance with military orders issued by the government.
The planned buffer zone is intended to block terrorists and smugglers, government officials told Egyptian media.
They keys to 62 homes were handed over to military officials by their owners on Wednesday (Oct. 29) in the town of Rafah, which straddles the border with Gaza.
According to international media, Egypt plans to expel families living in 880 homes along the northern Sinai border with Gaza.
That means that some 10,000 Egyptians will be left homeless, or at the least, displaced by the expulsion. The number is comparable to the number of Israelis expelled in the 2005 Disengagement from the Gush Katif region of Gaza and northern Samaria.
As was the case in Israel, the Egyptian government has promised financial compensation to those who were displaced – but residents have yet to see the money.
Unlike Israel, however, residents were given very short notice to pack up and leave their homes within the 13 kilometer area (8 miles).Hana Levi Julian