Residents gather next to the remains of buildings destroyed by the Egyptian military in divided border town of Rafah, along the border with the Gaza Strip, November 4, 2014. (AFP/MOHAMMAD AL-SHERBENY)
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Abu Mahmoud was given just eight hours to leave his home on the Egyptian side of the divided Gaza border town of Rafah before authorities began demolishing it to create a buffer zone.Militants have stepped up attacks against troops inside Egypt since the army toppled Islamist President Mohammad Morsi in July 2013 .More than 800 homes are being demolished and 1,100 families displaced to build the buffer zone in North Sinai province.The military began demolishing houses along the border with Gaza in late October after militants killed at least 30 soldiers in a checkpoint attack in north Sinai, a region rocked by insurgency since Morsi's ouster.Ansar gunmen then storm the checkpoint to kill survivors and make off with their weapons.The government hopes the buffer zone will isolate the militants who say they attack the security forces in retaliation for the government crackdown on Morsi supporters in which at least 1,400 people have been killed in street clashes. The authorities also hope that the buffer zone will neutralize hundreds of illegal underground tunnels connecting the Egyptian side of Rafah with Gaza.
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