Egypt to Demolish More Than 800 Homes for Sinai-Gaza Buffer Zone

Cabinet says it will compensate families affected by the buffer zone in the Sinai-Gaza border, intended to stop weapons and militant trafficking.

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House demolition in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip, October 29, 2014.
House demolition in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip, October 29, 2014.Credit: Reuters

The Egyptian cabinet said on Monday that 1,156 families will be evacuated along the country's eastern border with the Gaza Strip, as part of an operation to set up a buffer zone to stop weapons trafficking between Egypt and the Palestinian territories.

The Egyptian cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) said 802 houses will be demolished once the residents leave, Egypt's Ahram Online reported.

The buffer zone, which will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel diggers, will be 500 meters (546 yards) wide and extended along the 13 kilometer (9 mile) border.

The IDSC said affected families will receive approximately $40 in compensation, and homeowners will receive further compensation for the market loss of their houses.

The decision to create the buffer zone was taken as part of an emergency program that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Egyptian National Security Council announced last month, in response to the series of terror attacks in northern Sinai that killed 33 Egyptian soldiers.

These attacks are among the worst to have taken place since the overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in June 2013.

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