The Egyptian army continues expelling Arab residents and detonating buildings in its destruction of the Gazan side of the Egyptian border as the world is notably silent, even as Egypt reveals it will not refrain from taking action against Muslim clerics as well.
The Egyptian Waqf (Islamic trust) announced it will dismiss and expel Muslim clerics if smuggling tunnels are found below the mosques in which they serve, reports the Egyptian news agency Aswat Masriya.
In the recent Operation Protective Edge, the IDF was faced with lethal attack tunnels from under mosques, but nevertheless was hit by massive international criticism for its defensive operation - a criticism that has been completely absent regarding Egypt's "buffer zone" plan. Video of the expulsion was uploaded on Sunday by Ehna.TV.
Already the Egyptian army has reportedly destroyed over 800 homes in a short time span.
Egyt said Saturday night that despite having destroyed roughly 1,500 smuggling tunnels into Sinai in the past, it discovered hundreds more tunnels from satellite imagery, leading it to speed up the expulsion process according to the Arabic-language Sky News.
The "buffer zone" is to see Egypt seize and evacuate all homes and farmland up to 500 meters (over 1,640 feet) into Gaza, all along the 13 kilometer (over eight mile) border. Additionally, a channel with a depth and width of 20 meters (over 65 feet) is to be dug along the Gaza border.
As of last week, 200 families living in the buffer zone area defined by Egypt had reportedly accepted a financial package to compensate their abandonment of their homes, but 680 more families were still refusing.
According to Yedioth Aharonoth, one of the lone sources of criticism of the plan has been the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news outlet, which identifies with the Muslim Brotherhood that has been at odds with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's regime, and which has several reporters still being held under arrest by Egypt.
The Qatari paper quoted residents calling the buffer zone plan "the Egyptian parallel to the Nakba (Catastrophe) of '48," a reference to the Arab residents who fled the nascent modern state of Israel as it survived attacks on all fronts in the War of Independence.
On the other side, the Egyptian state news agency Al Ahram claimed residents were cooperating and "standing by the state after terrorists turned their lives to hell."
Sisi has justified the Gaza expulsion by citing two lethal terror attacks two weeks ago on Friday, in which at least 31 Egyptian soldiers were killed in El-Arish in the Sinai by a suicide bombing and a shooting attack.
Egyptian sources revealed last week that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the attack through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai; the attacks were conducted by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis jihadists, members of a group sympathetic to Islamic State (ISIS).
According to Sisi, who after the attacks declared the Sinai to be in a state of emergency, "Egypt is fighting a war of existence."
Gil Ronen contributed to this report.