Group: Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai

Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai. (AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Group: Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai

CAIRO: Egypt’s military has intensified home demolitions in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula as part of its campaign against a local affiliate of Daesh, an international rights group said Tuesday.
The military launched a massive security operation in early February in restive northern Sinai, the epicenter of an extremist insurgency spearheaded by the local Daesh affiliate. The campaign also includes parts of the Nile Delta region and the Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya.
Human Rights Watch said in a report that Egypt’s military vastly expanded widespread destruction of homes, commercial buildings and farms in Northern Sinai province since Feb. 9.
“The new destruction, including hundreds of hectares of farmland and at least 3,000 homes and commercial buildings, together with 600 buildings destroyed in January, is the largest since the army officially began evictions in 2014,” HRW said.
“Turning people’s homes into rubble is part of the same self-defeating security plan that has restricted food and movement to inflict pain on Sinai residents,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the watchdog’s Mideast director.
HRW said the destruction has extended well beyond two government-designated security buffer zones in Sinai cities of al-Arish and Rafah.
Egypt has built the buffer zone along Gaza’s border in an effort to prevent militants from using a vast underground tunnel network that was created to evade a decade-old Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the territory. It also bulldozed homes and olive groves around the el-Arish airport where Daesh militants attempted to hit the country’s defense and interior ministers in December.
Egypt has been battling Islamic militants for years in Sinai, but the insurgency gained strength after the 2013 overthrow of an Islamist president.


Child among three killed in Baghdad blast

Updated 14 August 2018
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Child among three killed in Baghdad blast

  • A source from the security services said that a woman and a child were among those killed
  • Authorities did not detail the cause of the blast and said an investigation would be launched

BAGHDAD: Three people were killed Tuesday in an explosion at a market in Baghdad, including a woman and child according to a security source.
The blast struck in the Shiite bastion of Sadr City, a sprawling district where authorities regularly carry out raids close to the busy market to seize illegal weapons.
“Three people were killed and four others injured in an explosion in a covered market near the Mreydi souk in Sadr City,” Baghdad’s military operations command said in a statement.
A source from the security services told AFP that a woman and a child were among those killed.
Authorities did not detail the cause of the blast and said an investigation would be launched.
The Mreydi souk is an important hub for illegal weapons sales and the area has seen years of violence since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In June, at least 16 people were killed and some 30 injured in an explosion at a house in the area where weapons were stored.
Sadr City is the former bastion of the Mahdi Army, which before being dissolved was blamed by Washington for killing US soldiers and thousands of Sunni Muslims.
The militia was led by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose political alliance triumphed in this year’s parliamentary elections.
Violence has fallen in Iraq and particularly Baghdad, which suffered numerous extremist attacks, since the government declared victory over Daesh in December.
But despite government forces retaking all of Iraq’s towns and cities from Daesh, clandestine extremist cells remain present, analysts say.