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Voters head to the polls in Egypt's North Sinai amid tight security

Ahram Online , Sunday 22 Nov 2015
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Voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections began in North Sinai on Sunday without incident and amid tight security, Al-Ahram news website reported.

Security forces transported the judges overseeing the ballots to the polling stations, Al-Ahram reported, with polls opening on time and voters beginning to cast their ballots.

The governorate of North Sinai is one of 13 governorates where voting in the second round of the parliamentary elections is taking place on Sunday and Monday.

To make it easier for locals to vote, the government decided to reduce hours of a curfew imposed since October 2014 - and reduced in past months -  from 7pm to 1am to 11pm to 1am. 

The Egyptian army has been battling an Islamist militant insurgency in parts of the North Sinai governorate for several years.

In July, the Egyptian army launched the largest and most comprehensive operation aimed at rooting out militants in the governorate, operation “Martyr's Right.”

In September the army announced that the first stage of the operation, which lasted for 16 days, killed about 500 militants and destroyed many hideouts in the governorate.

The government has recently launched a number of economic developmental projects in the North Sinai cities of Rafah, Sheikh Zuwaid, and Arish.

The population of the governorate is estimated to be 434,781, according to the State Information Service.

Eligible voters in the governorate number 234,635.

The first stage of the parliamentary elections, in which voters in 14 of the 27 governorates cast their ballots, was completed in October.

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