Egypt: 12,350 buildings demolished by military in Sinai (HRW)

Quoting the Minister of Human Resource Development from North Africa / Middle East, “In the last seven years in northern Sinai, the Egyptian military has illegally evicted thousands of people, destroyed their homes, farms and livelihoods . ” In press release

The NGO had already accused Egyptian security forces of committing “war crimes” in Sinai in 2019. Charges dismissed by Cairo.

Around 12,350 buildings were destroyed between the end of 2013 and 2020 by the Armed Forces, the capital of al-Arish, according to the NGO which relied exclusively on official documents and testimony collected with the Sinai Foundation Was for human rights.

The army “razed, destroyed or disowned” about 6,000 hectares of arable land around Al-Arish and Rafa Crossing that cross the border of Gaza. The HRW eye relies on the analysis of the satellite image by the witness.

The military’s goal, she said, was to create a buffer zone around Al-Arish Airport.

According to the NGO, these demolitions are “violations of international humanitarian law, or the law of war, and amount to potential war crimes”.

The human rights organization specifies that Egyptian authorities have not responded to its requests regarding these demolitions.

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Over the years, the Egyptian military has worked to end the rebellion in the Sinai Peninsula, led by the local branch of the Islamic State (IS) group.

And, since February 2018, they have been spearheading a nationwide operation against Islamic militants focused primarily on the Northern Sinai and Western Desert.

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Although official information on the Sinai conflict is scarce and the region is off-limits for journalists, Cairo has said in the past that destruction and expulsion are necessary in its fight against ISIS.

Regarding the compensation of residents, HRW determined that the process remained “opaque” and “slow”.

The report states, “Thousands of people have never been registered or are still waiting to receive compensation” and many have no choice.

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