Egypt to Create Buffer Zone along Gaza Border

Egyptian authorities are set to create a buffer zone along the shared border with Gaza following an attack that killed 30 soldiers on Saturday.

Egyptian military sources told Ma’an that all houses and farmland 500 meters deep along the 13-kilometer (eight-mile) border will be evacuated, with the exception of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.

A 20-meter wide and deep water channel will also be constructed along the Gaza border, the sources added.

The decision was taken by the Egyptian Defense Council and all work will likely be completed by the end of 2014.

Following a survey with residents along the border, house owners will receive compensation in return for leaving their homes, with some 200 families having already accepted the financial package to leave.

Around 680 more families live along the border.

The decision comes after a suicide car bombing which killed 30 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, the deadliest attack on the military since the coup.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the bomber had “external support.”

Egypt also immediately closed the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip following the attack, the principal connection between Gaza’s 1.7 million people and the outside world.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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