CAIRO, Egypt — Amnesty International condemned Thursday Egypt’s demolition of hundreds of homes and called for a halt to its “unlawful evictions” of residents to create a buffer zone with the Gaza Strip.
Egypt started work on the zone at the end of October with the aim of stemming jihadists infiltrating Egypt’s Sinai peninsula from across the border.
Jihadists have stepped up deadly attacks against Egyptian troops inside the Sinai since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
“Egyptian authorities must halt the arbitrary demolition of hundreds of homes and mass forced evictions underway in Rafah, North Sinai in order to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip,” said Amnesty.
They “have proceeded with the evictions completely ignoring key safeguards required under international law including consultation with residents, adequate prior notice, sufficient compensation for losses and granting alternative housing to those who cannot provide for themselves, rendering the evictions unlawful.”
More than 800 homes are being demolished and 1,100 families displaced to build the 500-meter wide, 13.5-kilometer (about eight-mile) long buffer zone.
The military began demolishing houses along the Gaza border after militants killed at least 30 soldiers in an October 24 checkpoint attack in North Sinai, a region rocked by insurgency.