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Egypt begins demolition 2km either side of Sinai roads

The Sinai Peninsula is seen in this image from video shot from onboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on 26 January 2003. [NASA-TV/Getty Images]

Egyptian authorities have begun implementing a 2016 decree which allocates two kilometres of land either side of several roads in Sinai as Ministry of Defence property.

The roads affected will be Al-Arish Road in Rafah, Ras El-Naqab Road in Nuweiba, Ras El-Naqab Road in Taba, Ismailia Road in El-Awja, East Port Said Road in El-Shat and Oyoun Mousa Road in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The Executive Council of North Sinai has begun removing the walls on either side of these roads and then will begin removing houses and other structures.

Both Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid will be heavily affected, as well as Bir Al-Abd in North Sinai. When the decree is implemented more than 80 per cent of the local population will be displaced.

North Sinai: Creating a new Egypt in Sisi’s image

This latest phase is part of the systematic displacement of the residents of Sinai, which has accelerated under the presidency of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and has already seen roughly 100,000 people forced out.

In the northern province 90 per cent of farms have been razed, villages have been destroyed and 3,000 houses crushed to the ground to create a buffer zone with Gaza.

Residents have been forcibly displaced south of Al-Arish where the airport is being expanded.

At the end of July, Egyptian authorities demolished Bedouin-owned houses in  the village of Tarabin in the city of Nuweiba, in the southern province.

Much of this has taken place under “Operation Sinai”, a pledge by the government to stamp out terrorism once and for all, that has been described by locals as a war on civilians.

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