Anger as Egypt army shelling kills children in Sinai

Anger as Egypt army shelling kills children in Sinai
Two child casualties are the latest show of civilian suffering in the Sinai as Egypt's military continue their forceful campaign to oust IS militants from the neglected desert region.
2 min read
11 May, 2018
Egyptian soldiers patrol the north Sinai [Getty]
Two children were killed and three others injured when Egyptian army shelling hit a residential area south of Rafah, in the north Sinai on Thursday evening, tribal sources told The New Arab.

The sources added that a delay in the transfer of the injured children to hospital led to their deaths, and worsened the injuries of the others.

Recently, the operation has focused on the area south of Rafah, which sits on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The child casualties are the latest show of civilian suffering during the military's campaign to oust Islamic State-affiliated fighters from the desert region, dubbed "Sinai 18" which began in February.

The operation has placed the area - home to 420,000 people, on lockdown, preventing civilians from travelling and seriously impeding imports of vital food, water and medical supplies, leading to shortages and economic deadlock.

Human Rights Watch slammed the campaign as 'shameful', warning that ongoing shortages, restrictions and army violence against civilians risks turning into a humanitarian crisis.

A video clip showing an Egyptian soldier shooting a young detainee in the Sinai as he called for his mother was leaked onto Facebook earlier this week and quickly went viral, sparking outrage across the country.

Many civilians have been killed and wounded by army fire during the three-month-long campaign, as tensions rise over shortages, closures and unemployment.

Journalists and human rights groups are not allowed into the area, which is also subject to telecoms outages for days at a time. The Egyptian state media broadcasts regular propaganda videos celebrating the "triumphs" of the operation, including numbers of militants killed and arrested.

"The Egyptian army's actions border on collective punishment and reveal the gap between what President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi claims to be doing on behalf of the citizenry and the shameful reality," HRW's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said in their report on the situation.

Sisi, who has pledged to restore stability in the country through the Sinai campaign, said that the operation would end "as soon as possible".

He also said that a social and economic development plan for the area, launched in 2014, would be completed by 2022.