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Security presence in Al-Arish worse than height of Operation Sinai

File photo of Egyptian soldiers and tanks being deployed in the Sinai [file photo]
Egyptian soldiers and tanks in Sinai, Egypt [file photo]

The security presence in Al-Arish is worse than at the height of Operation Sinai, reports Mada Masr, as a large-scale security campaign gathers pace.

Security forces have expanded house demolitions of the homes of alleged terrorism suspects after a number of terror attacks on checkpoints in late June.

For the third week in a row they have conducted house searches, closed streets and enforced a 10pm curfew.

In February 2018 Egyptian security forces launched Operation Sinai, an anti-terror purge of the northern peninsula during which authorities searched residents’ houses, demolished them and sealed off certain towns.

Punitive measures carried out under the operation have continued.

In May a report by Human Rights Watch detailed the extent of enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings that take place in North Sinai, many of which amount to war crimes.

Under this recent crackdown, four houses in Al-Safa district have been crushed by army bulldozers after security forces raided the houses and smashed everything with baseball bats. Families in the area are moving valuables and furniture out of their houses as a pre-emptive measure, according to Mada Masr.

READ: Rights group calls for international investigation into Sisi regime

The main square Al-Rifai is partially closed and regular patrols of the neighbourhoods of Al-Shorbagy, Safa, Salayma, take place. Security forces have forced residents to install video cameras at their homes so they can survey the streets.

Sweeping arrests have seen a number of 17-20-year-olds taken and interrogated at security headquarters, reports Mada Masr.

Mourners are obstructed from entering cemeteries to limit the number of people present at burials and to end ceremonies as quickly as possible. Security checkpoints at the entrance of roads leading to cemeteries have prevented people entering and have been an opportunity for authorities to carry out arrests.

Several post offices around Bir Al-Abd are closed since gunmen stole 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($6,010) on 1 July. Authorities have banned all motorbikes from Bir Al-Abd.

READ: Egypt won’t give up ‘one grain of sand from Sinai,’ insists foreign minister

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