Egypt evacuates homes near Gaza border for ‘buffer zone’

30 Oct


Middle East Monitor report & video, 29 October 2014

VIDEO: Rafah Residents living within 300 meters of the border with Gaza are being relocated by the Egyptian military. But as the video shows, the military are using force and abusive methods for this “relocation”.

The video appears to have been recorded near temporary barracks.

*** Please note that the video may not be suitable for all viewers – viewing has been age-restricted by the uploader.

Egypt reinforces its armies in Sinai

Military vehicles of Egyptian Armed Forces are seen as Egypt reinforces its armies in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt (near the border with the Gaza Strip).

Egyptian authorities have begun evacuating homes in the northeastern city of Rafah to make way for a planned buffer zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s state news agency reported on Wednesday.

“Residents living within 300 meters of the border were given a time limit for evacuating and relocating,” a military official was quoted as saying.

He added that the move was aimed at “eliminating terrorist hubs and preventing terrorist elements from crossing the border.”

A local resident said the inhabitants of homes within 300 meters of the border with the Gaza Strip had begun removing their belongings after Egyptian military officials gave them until Thursday evening to leave the area.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing residents moving with their furniture and luggage.

The military official said the move was the first phase of a plan to create a 500-meter “buffer zone” along Egypt’s 14km-long border with the Gaza Strip.

He added that displaced Rafah residents would receive emergency funding to rent alternative housing until final compensation packages could be paid out.

The Egyptian Defense Ministry said the decision to establish the buffer zone had been prompted by the “ability of criminal elements to dig [cross-border] tunnels from homes and fields and even places of worship [inside the Gaza Strip].”

The ministry added that cross-border tunnels between Egypt and the strip were the main way for “armed Takfiri groups to infiltrate Sinai to supply militants with arms, logistical assistance and shelter after staging their heinous attacks on the Egyptian army.”

Na’im Gabr, a spokesman for North Sinai’s Bedouin tribes, told Anadolu Agency that Rafah’s local council had ordered the residents of 580 homes within 300 meters of the border to present their property deeds to local authorities, who said they would arrange compensation packages.

Speaking cautiously for fear of possible reprisal, a number of resident interviewed by AA confirmed that they had attended a meeting with a local official for an overview of the evacuation process.

The decision to create a buffer zone on the border with the Gaza Strip was made at two emergency meetings earlier this week by Egypt’s National Defense Council and Supreme Military Council, held in the wake of a deadly attack by unknown perpetrators on an army checkpoint in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid.

At least 30 Egyptian troops were killed and dozens injured in the Friday attack.

The Egyptian government declared three days of national mourning following the incident, which constituted the deadliest attack on security personnel since last year’s ouster of Mohamed Morsi – Egypt’s first freely elected president – by the army.

Late Friday evening, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi imposed a three-month state of emergency in parts of North Sinai.

The following day, Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing linking Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.

Al-Sisi told Egyptian state television on Saturday that he would take measures on the border with the Gaza Strip in order to “totally eradicate terrorism.”



One Response to “Egypt evacuates homes near Gaza border for ‘buffer zone’”

  1. aboriginalpress October 30, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Reblogged this on .

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