The Egyptian army has started to raze more homes as part of the third stage in the expansion of the buffer zone between Sinai and the Gaza Strip, agencies reported on Thursday. The Governor of North Sinai, Abdel Fattah Harhour, said that the demolition work started on Wednesday, noting that this stage adds 500 metres to the zone.
The first stage was started in 2014, and involved the demolition of homes up to 500 metres inside Egyptian territory. The second stage started in September 2015 added an extra 500 metres along the 14 km border with Gaza.
Hamas, the resistance movement which controlled Gaza for 10 years before handing it over to the national unity government last week, started to prepare a 200 metre buffer zone in the enclave recently. The movement said that it is interested in keeping the Gaza-Egypt border safe and secure. “Egypt’s national security,” it insisted, “is a Palestinian priority.”
Since September 2013, the Egyptian army has been involved in military action along the border with Gaza, allegedly in the hunt for terrorists and others accused of carrying out lethal attacks on security forces and police in Sinai. The number of such attacks soared following the 2013 military coup which ousted the first freely-elected Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi.