Sisi orders construction of ‘new Rafah city’
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi - AFP

CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered Wednesday the construction of a new Rafah city for the residents who were evicted from their homes to establish a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Sisi ordered the presidential Specialist Council for Community Development and all concerned bodies to conduct studies to establish the new city as an “integrated community,” said PresidentialSpokesperson Alaa Youssef in a statement.

The studies should be submitted to the president within 15 days, the spokesperson added.

The council members met Monday with tribal leaders in North Sinai, discussing measures of evicting the residents.

The council submitted a report about the talks with the leaders who expressed their understanding, according to the statement, the necessity of redistribution of the residents to “get rid of terrorism.”

On Oct. 29, the military began evacuating residents to get rid of “terrorist hotspots” in the region, and to prevent infiltration from and to both sides after a militant attack killed 31 military personnel on Oct. 24 in Arish. The buffer zone is 500 meters in width and 15 kilometers in length.

Sisi announced Monday in a speech following a military maneuvers that the state allocated nearly 1 billion EGP ($139 million) in compensation for North Sinai citizens who were displaced.

North Sinai governor Abdel Fatah Harhour told reporters at the governorate headquarters Oct. 29 that 900 EGP ($125.86) would be given to evacuees in order to rent a house for three months in Shiekh Zuwayed city, but the amount would not cover food or livelihood.

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