Egypt's al-Sissi Wants a Modern, Urban City in Rafah

President instructs council to draw up plan for rebuilding the northern Sinai city that borders the Gaza Strip.

Houses destroyed in Rafah for the creation of the security barrier.
Houses destroyed in Rafah for the creation of the security barrier.Credit: Reuters

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has instructed his officials to compile a plan for the building of a “new Rafah,” the northern Sinai city that borders the Gaza Strip, the Egypt Daily News reported on Thursday.

Hundreds of the city's residents have been evacuated in recent weeks as the government destroys homes prior to building a “secure zone” along Egypt’s border with Gaza.

Following military attacks on Egyptian forces in Sinai two weeks ago that left more than 30 soldiers dead, Egyptian officials blamed the attacks on unspecified “foreign elements” and maintained that tunnels linking Egypt and Gaza in the Rafah area posed a security threat.

Egypt's Specialized Council for Community Development was instructed by the president to come up with a comprehensive plan for an "integrated urban community to achieve sustainable development for the people of Rafah" and deliver it within 15 days.

The instruction followed the release of a report by the council proposing the establishment of an integrated, urban, and modern society in the northern Sinai that takes into account the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of the people of Rafah.

Al-Sissi also ordered the relevant government bodies to examine compensation for those affected by the relocation in Rafah, He stressed the need for continued dialogue with the people of Sinai to achieve increasing rates of development and stability in Sinai.

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