Egyptian authorities have begun evicting squatters from a village built over ancient pharaonic tombs near the tourist town of Luxor.
Bulldozers began tearing down mud-brick houses in the village of Qurna Saturday as part of a government plan to open the site to archaeologists and, eventually, tourists.
Egyptian officials say most of the squatters have agreed to resettle in a new, government-built village several kilometers from Qurna. But, many villagers resisted the relocation offer, complaining the new homes are too expensive and far away.
Egypt spent more than 50-years trying to persuade squatters to leave the ancient necropolis on the West bank of the Nile.
Archaeologists believe that the tombs that lie beneath the village contain hidden treasures. They also accuse the squatters of damaging the site by looting artifacts.
Egyptian authorities have agreed to preserve some of the villagers' mud-brick homes, which are brightly-colored and have become a tourist attraction in their own right.Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.