World

Egyptian military doubling buffer zone with Gaza , demolishing nearly 1,220 more homes

  • FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, smoke rises from explosions demolishing houses on the Egyptian side of the border town of Rafah as seen from the Palestinian side of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Egyptian army is 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, military officials said Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015.(AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, smoke rises from explosions demolishing houses on the Egyptian side of the border town of Rafah as seen from the Palestinian side of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Egyptian army is 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, military officials said Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015.(AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ayman Abbas, the head of Egypt's Supreme Election Committee, center seated, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Egypt has scheduled long-awaited parliamentary elections. The vote will be staggered over seven weeks, starting March 21 and ending May 7, Abbas announced Thursday. (AP Photo/El Shorouk newspaper, Ahmed Abd El-Latif) EGYPT OUT

    Ayman Abbas, the head of Egypt's Supreme Election Committee, center seated, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Egypt has scheduled long-awaited parliamentary elections. The vote will be staggered over seven weeks, starting March 21 and ending May 7, Abbas announced Thursday. (AP Photo/El Shorouk newspaper, Ahmed Abd El-Latif) EGYPT OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Ayman Abbas, the head of Egypt's Supreme Election Committee, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Egypt has scheduled long-awaited parliamentary elections. The vote will be staggered over seven weeks, starting March 21 and ending May 7, Abbas announced Thursday. (AP Photo/El Shorouk newspaper, Ahmed Abd El-Latif) EGYPT OUT

    Ayman Abbas, the head of Egypt's Supreme Election Committee, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Egypt has scheduled long-awaited parliamentary elections. The vote will be staggered over seven weeks, starting March 21 and ending May 7, Abbas announced Thursday. (AP Photo/El Shorouk newspaper, Ahmed Abd El-Latif) EGYPT OUT  (The Associated Press)

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.