CAIRO - Egypt will destroy all buildings along the Nile River and its tributaries that were erected illegally, the water and irrigation minister said on Monday, seeking to protect canals needed to help grow food.

The government will "not be complacent in the face of encroachment on the Nile River and its tributaries and streams", Minister Mohamed Abdel Motteleb was quoted as saying by the state news agency MENA.

Egypt is the world's biggest wheat importer, a drain on its precarious finances. Officials say illegal building along the Nile has increased in the turbulent years since a 2011 uprising which also scared away investors and tourists, major sources of foreign exchange.


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