The Egyptian Minister of Defence has banned private ownership of land along the border between Sinai and Israel in order to boost security in the region. General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued the order, which was confirmed by Staff Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali, a spokesman for the Egyptian Army.
Colonel Ali said that the decision on the usufruct rights in the Sinai Peninsula comes within the remit of the army's role to protect Egypt's sovereignty and national security. The eastern border with Israel and the Gaza Strip is one of the most strategically important, he pointed out.
The banning order was issued in accordance with legislative decrees issued by the Prime Minister concerning the comprehensive development of Sinai. These committed the Minister of Defence to specify the rules governing the geographic areas and political boundaries of the region, including islands and territorial waters, special economic zones and the areas adjacent to the eastern border of the state.
The army spokesman appealed to Egyptian citizens to take a close look at the content of the banning order which actually gives them, for the first time, the right to own property in all parts of Sinai except certain desert areas and land adjacent to the eastern borders up to a distance of 5 km into Egyptian territory. The details of the prohibited areas were included in a 2010 presidential decree concerning the security of Egypt's eastern border.
All of the Egyptian armed forces have confirmed their commitment to challenge any threat to the Sinai Peninsula so that it remains an inseparable part of Egypt.