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Rafah to be razed as part of Sinai security zone

North Sinai governor Abdel Fattah Harhood said the buffer zone, announced in November, would include the entirety of Rafah

Published: Updated:

Egyptian authorities began evacuating residents from the city of Rafah on Thursday as a senior official confirmed that the town, which borders the Gaza Strip, will be bulldozed as part of an expanding security zone, the New York Times reported.

North Sinai governor Abdel Fattah Harhood said the buffer zone, announced in November, would include the entirety of Rafah, according to a statement carried by the BBC.

Asked by a journalist whether the city of Rafah will “cease to exist,” Harhoor said “no, the new Rafah city will exist.”

Following a series of attacks on Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s army announced it would establish a buffer zone which would involve the bulldozing of the town of Rafah.

Authorities evacuated homes 450 meters from the border but then announced in November that the size of the initially proposed buffer zone would be doubled.

While Harhoor said at the beginning of the operations that residents were evacuated following an amicable agreement with authorities, the New York Times reports that Rafah residents have complained about mistreatment by authorities.

Amnesty International had condemned in November the demolition of hundreds of homes and called for a halt to Egypt’s “unlawful evictions” of residents.