Egypt is considering expanding the jurisdiction of military courts and displacing thousands of residents to enlarge a military buffer zone near the border with the Gaza Strip following an attack on security forces in the area.
Two attacks on Friday in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip killed at least 33 security personnel in some of the worst anti-state violence since former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year.
Sisi, who became president in June, said the military would respond by taking "many measures" in the border area where a buffer zone is likely to be expanded in order to pursue militants and destroy tunnels used to smuggle weapons and fighters.
Security sources told Reuters the army was considering relocating residents to clear a larger buffer zone.
On Saturday, Egypt's council of ministers proposed a measure, now awaiting Sisi's approval, which would see military courts used to try civilians accused of offences such as blocking roads or attacking public property.
Sisi's critics are likely to see such a step as the latest move to clamp down on dissent by a government that has jailed thousands of political opponents and banned the Muslim Brotherhood, which denies involvement in militant violence.