Egypt: at least 4,300 dead in war on ISIS in Sinai - HRW

Organization denounces 'war crimes against civilians'

28 May, 14:14

    Egyptian soldiers in north Sinai Egyptian soldiers in north Sinai

    CAIRO - A reported 3,076 alleged Islamic extremists and 1,226 army and police officials were reported killed from January 2014 to June last year in clashes in Sinai, according to a report published Tuesday by Human Rights Watch.

    The report released by the human rights organization quoted ''government statements and information provided by the media''.

    Egyptian authorities have not provided official data on civilian deaths nor publicly admitted any mistake, according to the report called ''If you are afraid for your lives, leave Sinai!''.

    The US organization claimed that the army and police have arrested over 12,000 residents since July 2013, when fighting intensified, until December 2018, although the armed forces officially admitted only 7,300 arrests. Aggregated data on the low-intensity conflict in center-north Sinai are very rare.

    ''Egyptian army and police forces in the Sinai peninsula are perpetrating grave and widespread crimes against civilians'' as part of an ''ongoing campaign against members of the local group affiliated to ISIS'', said the HRW report, stressing that ''part of these abuses are war crimes''.

    The 134-page document is the outcome of two years of investigations in a territory made inaccessible by the army in which it was possible to document ''crimes including arbitrary mass arrests, forced disappearances, torture, extra-judicial killings and possibly air and ground attacks against civilians'', the report denounced. It also noted that ''extremist militants carried out terrible crimes'' like an attack that killed at least 311 people against the mosque al-Rawda in November 2017. According to HRW, ''Egypt's international partners should immediately interrupt any security and military assistance'' to Cairo.

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