Egyptian military officials say the army has begun doubling the size of a buffer zone along the Gaza border, an operation that will involve the destruction of 1,220 homes and the eviction of residents.

The operation will expand the existing 500m buffer zone created last November to a full kilometer (0.6 mile), a move meant to halt the passage of weapons and militants. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists, expect to complete the expansion by the middle of next week.

The forced evictions are displacing a population with longstanding grievances against the government of Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The northern Sinai Peninsula has become a hub for Islamic extremists, and security forces in the area face regular deadly attacks.