Human Rights Watch condemns "war crimes" of the army and "da´ash" in Sinai

Human Rights Watchdog Human Rights Watch condemned "serious abuses" and "war crimes" committed by the Egyptian army and police forces and the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State Organization (PNA) in northern Sinai, according to a report published Tuesday.

The 134-page report, entitled "If you are afraid of your life, leave Sinai: excesses of Egyptian army and police forces and followers of the Islamic state in North Sinai."

The report is based on testimony from more than 50 North Sinai residents and former local and international officials.

There was no immediate reaction from the Egyptian authorities to the report, which was published Tuesday morning.

"3076 militia and 1226 army and police forces were killed in combat" between January 2014 and June 2018, according to government officials and press reports.

Human Rights Watch said more than 12,000 people were arrested between 2013 and 2018, officials and press reports said.

Since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, armed operations against the army and police have increased, especially after the main group of activists in the region, Bayt al-Maqdis, announced in 2014 its loyalty to the organization of the Islamic state.

"The branch of the Islamic State Organization in North Sinai deserves the international condemnation it received for its abhorrent excesses, but the military campaign was also marked by serious violations, including war crimes, which should be strongly condemned," said Michael Bidge, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at Human Rights Watch. Also".

Among the abuses, the organization noted in its report to mass arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, ill-treatment, torture and unlawful shelling by Egyptian security forces.

The report included a video showing an extrajudicial execution by soldiers.

The report also speaks of the role of pro-government militias, which, according to the organization, operate "completely outside the law."

At the same time, the report condemns abuses committed by members of the Egyptian branch of Daqash.

"Attacks are carried out blindly using explosive devices in densely populated areas that have killed hundreds of civilians," such as the November 2017 attack on the al-Rawda mosque in northern Sinai, which killed more than 300 people.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

In its report, Human Rights Watch called on the Egyptian authorities to "allow humanitarian organizations access to and work in Sinai." It also requested the "immediate" transfer of all detainees to official prisons.

The report condemned arms sales to Egypt and military cooperation with Egypt. In this context, he referred to the United States, France, Germany and Russia "to a lesser degree".

"This horrific way of dealing with the Sinai population should be an additional threat to countries such as the United States and France that unreservedly support Egypt's efforts to combat terrorism," the organization said.

Human Rights Watch called on the US Congress not to give the "green light of repression" in Egypt by agreeing to sell arms during a visit to Washington last April by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Egyptian army encircles northern Sinai and independent journalists are not allowed to go to the area except for rare visits with the army.

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