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Egypt prepares to expand buffer zone with Gaza

Egyptian authorities are preparing to expand a buffer zone along Egypt's border with the blockaded Gaza Strip.

In October, Egypt began to establish a buffer zone in North Sinai's city of Rafah following a spate of militant attacks against army and security forces.

North Sinai Governor Abdel-Fattah Harhour said a third phase of the buffer zone will be established soon.

He said that local authorities have surveyed buildings and facilities that will be removed to make way for extending the zone, whose first two phases covered 1,000 meters.

The first phase of the zone involved the destruction of 837 buildings, while the second phase involved 1,220 buildings.

The third phase will involve approximately 1,215 houses and 40 governmental facilities, he said, going on to note that compensations were currently being surveyed in order to be disbursed to the affected families.

In April, the Egyptian government decided to expand the buffer zone with the Gaza Strip.

North Sinai – which shares border with both Israel and the Gaza Strip – has become the epicenter of a deadly insurgency in the past two years in which scores of Egyptian security personnel have been killed.

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