CAIRO: The Armed Forces said it would increase the uninhabited security buffer zone in Rafah, along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, from 500 meters to 1km, Youm7 reported.
The military said all houses in the area have been evacuated, except for 93 homes that will be searched in the coming days.
Recently additional tunnels into Palestinian territory were discovered by the Egyptian military, the entrances of which were beyond the existing 500-meter buffer zone.
On Oct. 29 the military began an evacuation of residences within the zone, following an Oct. 24 attack in Arish that killed 31 soldiers and injured dozens more.
A state of emergency was declared by the National Defense Council, as well as a curfew in areas of North Sinai from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced following the evacuation that all those displaced would be entitled to compensation, and Veto reported Nov. 9 that checks worth a total of 950,000 EGP ($132,000) were delivered to 37 families.
No group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack. Recent videos posted by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis alluded to a member who may have been involved. A number of Egyptian papers have also recently reported anonymous government sources who said members of Hamas were involved, but no government or military figures have yet stated this on the record.
Some voices have expressed opposition to the decision to evacuate the Sinai residents, including actor Khalid Abu al-Naga, however, the Grand Mufti Shawky Allam told Youm7 in early November that the state had a responsibility to ward off risks.