Following ten days of closure, schools in North Sinai are scheduled to reopen on 7 December by order of Governor Abdel-Fattah Harhour, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
Schools in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid have been closed due to intense counter-insurgency operations in the area. “Rafah schools are now secured enough. We cannot suspend schooling forever,” said Harhour.
The armed forces recently announced an expansion of the buffer zone being established along the Gaza Strip border, after an 800m tunnel was discovered running underneath the border. The new buffer zone will reach 1km deep into Sinai and cover 13.5 km along the border.
During the initial phase of the buffer zone’s enforcement, the Information and Decision Support Centre recorded that 802 homes were evacuated, with a total of 1,156 families due to be relocated.
President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi called for a three-month state of emergency in North Sinai in late October, following two deadly attacks in Sheikh Zuweid that killed at least 30 security personnel.
The president claimed the attacks bore marks of “foreign elements”. The ‘State of Sinai’, formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, later claimed those attacks in a video showing a truck bomb attack followed by an armed raid on the targeted area.
As part of the campaign against militants in the region, Al-Sisi called for a dusk-to-dawn curfew and the creation of the buffer zone to halt what the government believes is a flow of arms and fighters from Gaza to the restive Sinai peninsula.
A low-ranking police officer and his family were injured after an explosion damaged their house in the town of Al-Arish on Friday, state media reported.