• 13:01
  • Friday ,05 December 2014

Egypt to reopen schools in Sinai towns on Sunday – governor

By Aswat Masriya

Home News


Friday ,05 December 2014

Egypt to reopen schools in Sinai towns on Sunday – governor

Schools in North Sinai's towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid will reopen on Sunday December 7, North Sinai Governor Abdel Fattah Harhour said on Thursday.

The schools were shut indefinitely on November 21 because of the security situation in North Sinai.

Egypt's security forces have cleared 500-metres on the eastern border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip of houses, therefore concluding the first phase of a "buffer zone" it is creating in Sinai.

Harhour said that all 802 houses previously existing in the area have been demolished, including 122 which were already destroyed before the evacuation operation started.

Security forces began evacuating the area bordering Sinai's Rafah on October 28, as one of the steps taken in response to militant attacks on security personnel in the Peninsula on October 24 which left over 33 killed.

Egypt's cabinet issued on October 29 a decision to clear 500 metres of the border area with Gaza of civilians, vowing to provide compensation for those evicted.

Harhour said the authorities have issued compensation to 290 of the families who evacuated their houses to create the buffer zone, paying them a sum of 97 million Egyptian pounds.

According to a surveillance of the first 500 metres, the 802 houses in the "buffer area" sheltered 1156 families.

The governor said that 87 families are not entitled to compensation due to having discovered tunnels beneath their houses.

Security forces have been targeting tunnels dug up in the Sinai to connect it with Gaza. Egyptian authorities say the tunnels are used to smuggle arms to militants in the Peninsula, while Sinai residents argue that the tunnels provide them with a source of income as they use them to trade goods with the besieged Gaza Strip.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.

At least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid on October 24, in the worst militant attack since Mursi's ouster.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in parts of the Sinai Peninsula in response to the attack.