Egyptian civilian killed by army in restive Sinai peninsula

Egyptian civilian killed by army in restive Sinai peninsula
Egyptian forces are fighting an extremist insurgency in the Sinai peninsula but rights groups say civilians regularly bear the brunt of the conflict.
2 min read
24 April, 2021
The civilian death toll of the conflict in Sinai is not known [Getty]
A civilian was shot dead by Egyptian armed forces on Saturday in the northern Sinai peninsula, where the military has fought an extremist insurgency for a decade.

The man was shot while walking in his village south of the town Sheikh Zuweid and died instantly, tribal sources and eyewitnesses told The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

The sources identified the man as 33-year-old Abdul Rahman Abu Farha al-Akour.

The Egyptian military has been engaged in a battle with Islamist insurgents since 2011 but the insurgency intensified in 2013 after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power in a military coup.

A year later, local militants pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, forming the local Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) affiliate.

Around 1,000 militants have been killed over the course of the conflict, according to Egyptian military figures.

The civilian toll is not known however, as the Egyptian government has maintained a tight media blackout on independent reporting from the Sinai.

Human rights groups claim civilians often bear the brunt of the conflict, facing intimidation and violence from both sides.

Human Rights Watch has said Egyptian forces have likely commited war crimes against civilians over the course of the counter-insurgency campaign.

The New York-based rights organisation this year alleged Egypt had forcibly evicted thousands of Sinai residents, destroying more than 12,300 homes and nearly 15,000 acres of farmland between 2013-2020.

A 2019 report by HRW accused Egyptian forces of possible crimes against humanity including the extrajudicial execution of suspected militants, airstrikes on civilian homes, enforced dissapearances and the arbitrary detention of thousands, including children.

The claims were fiercely rejected by Cairo.

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