The Egyptian military and police forces have committed widespread abuses in the northern Sinai Peninsula, according a new report by Human Rights Watch, which said some of the actions amount to war crimes.
The report alleges that Egyptian security forces, who have been conducting military operations against Islamist insurgents in the region, have engaged in unlawful action against civilians in the region.
The report describes widespread extrajudicial arrests and killings, as well as torture, forced evictions and collective punishment by Egyptian security forces. Egyptian forces have also armed and trained militias that have conducted abuses and rights violations, according to the report.
The organization documented 50 cases of arbitrary arrests and specifies that in 39 of the cases, the individuals were “likely disappeared. The report also describes torture sites that detained children as young as 12 years old, according to former detainees.
Egyptian government officials have dismissed the report.
The HRW report also notes alleged abuses committed by Islamic State affiliates in the region, including kidnappings and executions. The local branch of IS claimed responsibility for the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board. The plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh.
The conflict in the northern Sinai region has escalated since 2013, following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by then-defense minister Abdel Fatah el-Sissi.
The government subsequently mobilized tens of thousands of forces to the region
The report calls on the Egyptian government to allow the Red Cross into the region and calls for the ceasing off all aid to Egypt until an investigation confirms that the abuses have stopped.