Egyptian air raids kill family in Sinai

Egyptian air raids kill family in Sinai
A family was killed from Egyptian government airstrikes in the Sinai Peninsula earlier this week according to local sources and human rights groups.
2 min read
19 May, 2016
The Egyptian military has been accused of human rights abuses in the Sinai [Getty]

Residents of the towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid in North Sinai have described to The New Arab how successive Egyptian air raids killed a family, including five children.

Witnesses said war planed launched attacks on different districts of the city and without prior warning, leading to civilian deaths. 

According to a witness, an Egyptian F-16 targeted a tented home of a family on farm land, leading to the deaths of a woman and her five children.  

Local sources from the Bedouin community told The New Arab that shelling had targeted farmers and hit their farm land, while armed groups in the area had not been affected.  

Internet was down at the time, so residents were unable to inform human rights groups and media about the attacks.  

Abu Abdullah al-Sawarka, a local resident, said that the family - whose identities are yet to be confirmed - had been displaced from the Sheikh Zuwaid area after the Egyptian army destroyed their home.  

The children's father disappeared several months ago, and believed to be detained by Egyptian authorities.

The Sinai Observatory for Human Rights said the massacre was contrary to the conventions and human rights covenants ratified by the Egyptian State.

The Observatory said in a press statement that they were told an F-16 aircraft had targeted areas south of Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah, resulting in the deaths of a woman and five children.

The Observatory accused the Egyptian military of "ethnic cleansing" in the Sinai and called on authorities to refrain from targeting civilians.

Egypt is battling an insurgency that gained pace after its military overthrew President Mohammad Morsi from the now banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Some Sinai militant groups pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group leadership based in Syria and Iraq in November 2014.

Meanwhile, human rights groups have accused the Egyptian military of committing numerous abuses in counter-insurgency operations against the group in the Sinai.

In March, the army said it killed at least 60 IS militants in an air raid on the group's positions in North Sinai. The military has also razed the homes belonging to thousands of families in the Rafah area - along the border with the Gaza Strip - in a bid to crack down on smuggling through the area's notorious tunnels.