While smaller than its sister city of the Gaza Strip side of the border, Rafah, Egypt has long been an important city in the northern portion of the Sinai Peninsula, of economic and strategic import.
Today, Egypt began displacing the residents of Rafah with a plan to “eradicate” the entire city, expelling thousands of families and demolition every last home as part of a plan to create a 2 km “buffer zone” between Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
Egypt demolished significant numbers of homes back in October to create a 500 meter buffer, but has since decided to expand that to encompass materially the entire city. They have claimed Sinai rebels, who have resisted the junta since the 2013 coup, are using Gaza to resupply.
Sinai Government Abdel Fattah Harhour denied that the plan amounted to the destruction of Rafah, claiming Egypt would build a “new Rafah” a couple kilometers west of the old one. Whether anyone will choose to live there, with policy established that anything near the border might get wiped out for dubious military reasons, remains to be seen.