A fire that destroyed over 1700 hectares of farmland in the Siwa Oasis on Tuesday was started deliberately by border smuggling gangs, a local tribal leader has claimed.
The attacks were in revenge for requests by local leaders for border security to be tightened, the man added.
Siwa is in the Matrouh governorate near Egypt's border with Libya.
Matrouh Governor Taha Mohamed El-Sayyid announced on Wednesday that the fire had been extinguished.
Security forces evacuated ten families in two local villages. No injuries or fatalities were reported.
Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister State of Antiquities, said that the antiquities sites in Siwa oasis are completely safe and away from the fire which broke out in Taaouny and Mashandat areas of Siwa and devoured 60 acres of arable land.
The fire broke out on Tuesday in an olive grove, 15 kilometers west of the Siwa Oasis.
The Minister explained that the nearest site is in Maraki area which is half a kilometer away from the fire and he was following the situation minutes by minute with the head of Egyptian Antiquities department and the directors of the sites in Siwa since the fire broke out and till it was extinguished this morning