Egyptian government officials will implement extra safety measures for the opening ceremony of a new Suez Canal channel in August, fearing the proximity of the channel to the troubled Sinai Peninsula may endanger the completion of the project as well as disrupt the opening ceremony.
The Suez Canal is an artificial water canal and shipping route which has connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea since 1869 as is currently managed and run by Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
Egyptian former army general, now President, Abdel Fattah el Sisi decided to expand the capacity of the canal with a project known as the “New Suez Canal” in August 2014.
The head of the SCA, Admiral Mohab Mameesh, announced on Tuesday that “the new canal will be completed on Friday.”
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that Egyptian security forces are currently conducting various “security operations” on the canal’s neighboring regions in order to prevent possible attacks on the ceremony.
One Egyptian security source told AA that both security forces and chieftains of local Bedouin tribes have been assigned to secure the the region.
AA’s source stressed that people who live close to the canal, or have any presence in the vicinity, have faced background checks.
“Everything including equipment being used in the canal is going through strict security measures before being allowed into the area,” said security officials.
The new Suez canal project is being constructed with the aim of boosting Egypt’s economic power.The project will increase the length of the existing Suez canal from 60 km to 95 km.
The Egyptian government estimates that the new project will increase the annual income of the canal from 5.3 billion dollars to 13 billion dollars.