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Egyptian army prohibits entry of food and goods to North Sinai

The Sinai Peninsula is seen in this image from video shot from onboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 26, 2003. Israel, visible in the upper left portion of the image, is home to Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon the first Israeli astronaut. [NASA-TV/Getty Images]

A military blockade has lead to food shortages in the Northern Sinai. 

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper quoted its sources as saying similar conditions prevailed in February last year. At that time, a military operation led to a siege that paralysed all aspects of life without taking into account any health or humanitarian conditions.

The Governor of North Sinai, Major General Mohamed Abdul Fadel Shousha described cargo vehicles crowding on Al-Maidan crossing as “an ordinary inspection procedure,” and considered the talk about the atmosphere of siege “rumours propagated by people with bad intentions, who wish to deliver goods to terrorist militants in some areas south of city.”

Shousha confirmed that competent authorities are monitoring those who try to cooperate with these militants, pointing to “pursuing them soon.”

Read: Israel, Hamas agree to truce via Egyptian mediators

Egyptian authorities claim that they seek to stop the supply of terrorist groups by cutting off food entering the Sinai. However, one of the traders of Arish said that a new economic and life crisis would threaten the areas of North Sinai if the Egyptian army does not stop hindering the movement of goods trucks destined for Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, the rest of Rafah, and central Sinai soon.

He explained that they contacted a number of government figures and deputies of Arish province, but they could not resolve the crisis, although nearly a week has elapsed since communication started.

The same trader added that “there is no clear justification for this arbitrary decision taken by the army forces in Arish. Sometimes they say that the goods need prior coordination of several security and government bodies, and sometimes they talk about traders who manipulate the coordination papers after getting them and change the mentioned quantities.”

With regard to justifying the measures which prevent providing terrorists with foodstuffs, he said: “We sell the materials that come to Sinai in markets and public shops, and in purely populated areas, not in the areas of the terrorists south of Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah.”

Since the start of the broad military operation in February 2018, the movement of residents to and from Arish was blocked for several weeks. Then, the area of movement was opened through coordination with the governorate administration in coordination with the security authorities, until unrestricted travel was limited to a number of days. Food, vegetables, and fuel entry to the province have also been banned for months by a military decision of the army operations command.




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