Egypt's Sisi reduces curfew hours in North Sinai

Wednesday 10-12-2014 09:36 AM
Egypt's Sisi reduces curfew hours in North Sinai

Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with the southern Gaza Strip November 3, 2014. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem


CAIRO, Dec 09 (Aswat Masriya) - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on Tuesday the reduction of the nighttime curfew imposed in North Sinai from to 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. instead of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Sisi declared a state of emergency in Sinai for three months and imposed a nighttime curfew in parts of North Sinai starting 5 p.m. on October 25, following the death of at least 30 military personnel in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid on October 24.

The curfew included all cities and villages of North Sinai, except for for Beer al-Abd and Nakhl centers and some parts of al-Hosnaa in the middle of the Peninsula.

The schools North Sinai's towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid were also scheduled to be re-opened on Sunday after they were shut on November 21, because of the security situation in North Sinai.

Security forces began evacuating the area bordering Sinai's Rafah on October 28, as one of the steps taken in response to the October 24 militant attacks.

Egypt's cabinet issued a decision to clear 500 metres of the border area with Gaza of civilians, vowing to provide compensation for those evicted. Egyptian authorities later doubled the "buffer zone", clearing 500 more metres of the border.

The decision allows the forcible seizure of the property of those who refuse to comply. It also excludes those who shelter tunnels under their houses from entitlement to compensation.

Gaza's ruling body Hamas criticised the buffer zone, saying it would reinforce the siege imposed on the strip since 2007. 

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. 

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.

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