Between Death And Besiege – An overview of the situation for local residents in Sinai since the beginning of the Comprehensive Operation in February 2018
North Sinai has been in a continuous state of emergency since October 2014 under the pretext of the war on terror, which makes it vulnerable for ongoing violations of the basic rights for individuals. On February 9, 2018, following the terrorist attack targeting AlRawda Mosque in Beer Abd of Al-Arish which left over 300 persons killed, the military spokesman of the Egyptian army announced the launch of the “Comprehensive Operation 2018” in North-Sinai and Central Sinai, which increased the intensity of the security measures in Sinai.
Since the launching of the Comprehensive Operation in February 2018 and until the end of December, the Egyptian Front has observed that the armed forces had killed 493 terrorists, according to the statements made by the military spokesman. While some of the killings take place during a fire exchange with members of the terrorist groups, according to the military’s account, some other qualitative operations of the army are “pre-emptive strikes” in which there is no exchange of fire, according to the military spokesman’s statements. On the civilian side, local sources announced that at least 52 civilians were killed since the launching of the “Comprehensive Operation 2018”, 23 were killed by the armed forces and the police, 6 of whom were children. The Egyptian front also monitored the murder of at least 29 civilian at the hands of militant groups in Sinai since the “Comprehensive Operation”, either through bombings or armed operations targeting the abduction of citizens and slaughtering them on accusations of cooperating with the army.
According to the statements of the military spokesman, 55 members of the armed forces had been injured since the launching of the “Comprehensive Operation 2018”, including; 24 conscripts, 8 officers, 8 non-commissioned officers, 14 with ranks unannounced. The military spokesman did not announce that any civilians were injured in Sinai since the launching of the Comprehensive Operation but Sinai’s local pages have reported at least 8 injuries among civilians in attack by militant groups and 10 injuries among civilians sustained by members of the army. The total number of arrests since the start of the comprehensive operation in Sinai is 5309 detainees of the criminally wanted by the police or suspects, according to the military spokesman’s statement since the beginning of the comprehensive operation
Economic and social rights has also been in decline since the commencing of the “Comprehensive Operation”. According to statements by the military spokesman since the beginning of Sinai’s Comprehensive Operation 2018, the military was able to achieve a lot of “successes” in seizing and destroying private properties of the terrorist groups. Through these statements, it was monitored that the army had seized and destroyed 730 vehicles of different kinds, burned 1025 motorcycles, destroyed 187 vehicles of the four-wheel drive, and demolished 5966 huts, houses, shelters and stores. On the other hand, narratives of the deterioration of the economic and social conditions spread on local pages, coinciding with the launch of the Comprehensive Operation in February in many aspects, which included: The lack of food supplies, water outage and lack of drinking water, power cuts and outage of internet and telecommunications, deterioration and delay of education, deterioration in health care, the hardship of transportation, burning and demolishing houses and huts for local residents, in addition to obstacles caused by the curfew in the lives of the residents and the foreshadowing of all the above of the lives of their children and their physical and psychological health
Based on the above, we demand the Egyptian authorities to:
- Immediately end the state of emergency in Sinai.
- Immediately put an end to extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests, conduct
independent, impartial and prompt investigations into these violations, hold perpetrators
accountable and provide victims with effective remedy, in accordance with Egypt’s
international human rights obligations
- Immediately end the arrest of journalists and media workers covering counter-terrorism
operations in Sinai, allow independent human rights monitors and media access to the
- Amend article 35 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, to allow independent monitoring and
reporting of counter-terrorism operations in Sinai.
- Issue public periodic and detailed reports of the counter-terrorism operations in Sinai to
guarantee the enjoyment of the right to freedom of information