10/29/2014, 00.00
EGYPT - PALESTINE
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Egypt decides to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip

The area will be 500 metres wide. All its buildings will be demolished with water-filled trenches set up to thwart tunnel smuggling. The decision comes four days after an attack against an army post in the northeast of the Sinai Peninsula left 31 soldiers dead.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Egypt has decided to create a buffer zone along the 13-kilometre border with the Gaza Strip. To do this, Egyptian authorities ordered residents to leave their homes, which are set to be demolished.

The decision came four days after armed men attacked an army post in the northeast of the Sinai Peninsula, killing 31 soldiers.

After the attack, Egypt declared a state of emergency and a dawn-to-dusk curfew in the area.

The authorities also indefinitely closed the Rafah crossing (pictured), the only passage between the Gaza Strip and the rest of the world not controlled by Israel.

The buffer zone will be 500 metres wide. It will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel smuggling, weapons for example.

Egyptian media have accused Hamas, which runs the strip, of meddling in Egypt's affairs.

Some suggest that the group is supporting Islamist fighters in the Sinai, which Egypt's military have been battling for three years.

Hamas has denied any interference and criticised Egypt for imposing stricter border crossing rules.

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