Compensation to North Sinai evacuees can reach LE1 bn: El-Sisi

Ahram Online, MENA, Monday 3 Nov 2014

The president gives remarks on situation in North Sinai, defence of state institutions against insurgency, and freedom of the press

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo:Ahram)

Rafah evacuees will receive millions of pounds in compensation, with totals possibly reaching one billion pounds ($140 million), President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Monday.

Last week, the army decided to evacuate  a total of 1156 families from the North Sinai border area, stretching from Rafah to Sheikh Zuweid, following a deadly attack on 24 October that left 31 army personnel dead.

On the sidelines of attending an air force manoeuvre training, El-Sisi said that North Sinai residents have behaved very patriotically following the deadly attack adding "our hearts go out to them," MENA reported.

"When the people of Sinai leave their houses, they have to be compensated suitably, and we won't forget their sacrifice," El-Sisi stated.

He said Sinai's economic development is one of the government's priorities and will continue alongside efforts to establish security.

The army plans to man a buffer zone of 500 metres in depth and 14 kilometres in length in the evacuated area.

El-Sisi said that more measures would be taken to secure the border area.

In addressing recent attacks on state security forces in North Sinai, El-Sisi stressed that no one can touch the state's institutions.

"The police cannot be touched, the judiciary cannot be touched; as well as the media cannot be touched as long as it's free, nationalistic and responsible."

Last week, the editor-in-chiefs of major private and public newspapers decided that they won't publish "statements undermining state institutions."

Shortly after, however, at least 400 journalists denounced the editors' decision and signed a petition to safeguard "free press that opposes terrorism as well as despotism."

El-Sisi concluded by stressing that the Egyptian army are only operating inside Egypt, adding, however, that "it is willing to protect its Arab siblings."

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