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Egypt to expand buffer zone with Gaza

The Egyptian government yesterday expanded a buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab decided to “evacuate homes in the northeastern Rafah city to make room for expanding the buffer zone to two kilometres,” Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported.

This is the third phase of creating a buffer zone between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. The move came following a spate of deadly attacks on army and security forces in the area.

For almost two years, Egyptian authorities have tried to crack down on militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula, which shares a border with both Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The campaign comes amid a spike in attacks on security personnel since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the army in mid-2013.

On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi extended the state of emergency in some areas in the Sinai Peninsula for an additional three months.

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