Egypt rejects charges of human rights violations in North Sinai

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FILE - Egyptian army troops – Reuters

The Egyptian army denounced on Tuesday a report by the Human Rights Watch accusing the army of alleged human rights violations during anti-terror operations in the North Sinai province.

FILE – Egyptian army troops – Reuters

Egyptian military spokesman Tamer al-Refae told the official news agency MENA that some politicized organizations seek to tarnish the image of Egypt and its army through “fabricating” such reports.

Refae said the Egyptian army takes into consideration the international human rights standards on protecting civilians during the operations, by carrying out airstrikes on targets outside residential areas.

He said the establishment of a buffer zone on the border belt took place in line with a cabinet resolution, adding “those who were harmed by the decision were compensated and received housing units.”

In a 134-page report issued Tuesday, Human Rights Watch accused Egypt’s army and police forces of committing “serious and widespread” abuses against civilians in North Sinai during anti-terror operations.

Rafae added that the army supported the development process in North Sinai, supervising 312 projects in various domains to improve the living conditions and provide job opportunities for local residents.

He stressed that the army managed to destroy the infrastructure of terror groups, restore normal life, and provide security to North Sinai citizens.

Egypt has been fighting against a wave of terror activities that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the military toppled former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group.

Terror attacks in Egypt had mainly targeted police and soldiers in North Sinai before spreading nationwide and targeting the Coptic Christian minority as well, leaving dozens of them dead. Most of the attacks were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State extremist group.

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