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Egypt air strikes hit North Sinai, again

Egyptian forces are seen in North Sinai [Twitter]
Egyptian forces seen in North Sinai, 23 January 2019 [Twitter]

Egyptian air strikes hit North Sinai yesterday morning, reports the New Arab, and the military carried out raids in the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.

The army regularly targets areas of North Sinai. In mid-August warplanes launched an attack on Sheikh Zuweid and west of Rafah in response to the death of a senior army brigadier who was killed after the local Daesh affiliate targeted his vehicle.

Egypt has consistently insisted it is responding to terror activity in the governorate, but human rights organisations have called Egypt out for launching disproportionate attacks on Sinai which mainly punish the local civilian population.

Rafah city on the border with Gaza has been destroyed. More than 50 villages have been razed, 120,000 hectares of green space destroyed, and 100,000 residents displaced.

More than 20,000 are dead or forcibly disappeared.

READ: Egypt: Death of MP in jail erupts anger among social media activists

At the beginning of August, Amnesty International called on Egypt to investigate a propaganda video released by the Egyptian army showing people being shot dead during a security operation in North Sinai.

The footage revealed a soldier shooting a person at close range whilst he was asleep in a tent, and another being shot whilst he ran through the desert.

The video led to fresh calls on the US to withdraw its foreign military funding for Egypt until it holds security officials responsible for gross human rights violations and takes tangible steps to improve human rights.

Earlier this month the French publication Disclose revealed hundreds of official, secret documents revealing a secret French-Egyptian military intelligence operation used to target and kill civilians accused of smuggling across the Libyan border.

The operation was ostensibly set up to identify terror threats coming from Libya across the Western desert, but the investigation revealed that Egyptian military was using intelligence gathered by French surveillance planes to target Bedouin smugglers.

Between 2016 and 2018 the French forces may have been involved in at least 19 bombings of civilians and killed several hundred people.

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