Egyptian army 'digging trench' along Gaza border

Egyptian army 'digging trench' along Gaza border
Cairo says that Egyptian military has begun work on digging a trench 'to prevent smuggling' and 'militant attacks' in North Sinai province.
2 min read
23 June, 2015
The Egyptian army destroyed houses to create a buffer zone [Anadolu]
The Egyptian army said it is digging a trench along the border with Gaza,  to prevent smuggling and militant attacks against police and military in the turbulent Sinai Peninsula.

The army has already doubled the width of the 13.5km-long buffer zone with Gaza to 1 km, evicting thousands of people in the process. According to the Egyptian authorities, the buffer zone has been set up to help the fight against armed groups operating in Sinai and prevent cross-border attacks on Israel.

The government has been fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai against militants, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group [IS]. Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks around the country, which surged since the military coup that ousted former Islamist president Mohammad Morsi in 2013.

The 20 metre deep and 10 metre wide U-shaped trench is 2 km from the border with Gaza and will help Egyptian security services detect more tunnels used in the smuggling trade.
      An attack on a police station in al-Arish in April [AFP]
The Egyptian government has accused Islamic government in Gaza, Hamas, of aiding Sinai-based militants by smuggling arms through tunnels into Egypt that are used in attacks against the police and army. Hamas denies this.

Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, earlier this month an Egyptian court canceled a previous ruling that labeled Hamas a terrorist group.

On Monday, Egyptian security forces announced they killed 22 suspected militant outside a mosque south of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai that were planning to target security forces. Sheikh Zuweid is a Bedouin town that has been the scene of many recent attacks on army barracks and checkpoints.
This month, police killed two would-be terrorists and wounded another close to the Karnak temple in Luxor, a popular tourist destination close to Egypt's famed Valley of the Kings. 

Egyptian police announced, on Monday, it has tighten security on Cairo Metro stations by installing 42 explosives trace detectors as well as the setup of both fixed and mobile security checkpoints. Cairo’s underground has been the target for several terrorists attacks attributed to the IS affiliated terrorist.

Cairo's central Sadat metro station was reopened last week after it was closed for almost two years for "security reasons", following the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in, held by Muslim Brotherhood supporters to protest the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi in July 2013.