Egyptians wishing to travel to Turkey or Iraq are now required to get security approval from passport control authorities.
General Aiman Hamed, chief of the media bureau for the interior ministry told Ahram Online that the decision came earlier this week during “exceptional timing” for the region.
Hamed mentioned that the decision only affects travelers between 18 and 40 years of age.
The new decision does not affect Libya, which has only recently stipulated that Egyptians acquire a visa to cross the border after decades of unrestricted border movement.
Turkey is currently the easiest border to cross into northern Syria through the crossings of Gaziantep and Bab Al-Hawa. Cities in northern Syria, particularly Raqqah and large parts of Aleppo have fallen under the control of the Islamic State organisation, escalating instability in the restless country.
IS has took over Mosul city in Iraq last June without a significant resistance from Iraqi forces. Battles are also ongoing in Iraq, especially around Beiji oil refinery in Saladin province and in Anbar.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, a jihadist group operating in Egypt’s North Sinai governorate pledged loyalty to IS in early November shortly after a major militant attack in the Sheikh Zuweid border city that left more than 30 army personnel dead and dozens injured.
The Egyptian extremist group has claimed dozens of militant operations against the Egyptian police and army that have killed dozens of security personnel throughout the past year.
The recent decision by the interior minister coincides with a broad campaign launched by the armed forces that aims to “purge North Sinai of terrorist elements.” The campaign includes a two-phased plan to create a buffer zone along 1,500 metres on the border with the Gaza Strip; the first phase resulted in the evacuation of tens of families and the destruction of hundreds of houses in the border city of Rafah.
Source : Ahram online