The National Council for Human Rights’ (NCHR) committee headed to North Sinai on Tuesday, to visit families residing in areas as Sheikh Zuweid and Al-Arish to identify their needs.
Rafah, East Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid are the areas witnessing the most frequent clashes between army personnel and North Sinai militants known as “State of Sinai”. The most recent of these clashes occurred on 1 July, when militants attacked a number of checkpoints across Sheikh Zuweid.
Since then, many Sheikh Zuweid residents have moved out of their places to avoid the clashes areas. Ahmed Abu Deraa, an Al-Arish based journalist, told Daily News Egypt that the relocation expenses are very high on people.
According to the NCHR’s press officer, Amgad Fathy, the committee is visiting to assess the needs of the families and report it to the government.
Daily News Egypt tried to contact residents from Al-Arish, however, the communications network was down. An Al-Arish resident previously told Daily News Egypt that the telephone network is out for long periods of time.
North Sinai Governor Abdelfattah Harhour stressed that the demands of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah residents will be met, and that there will be disbursement of emergency subsidies and compensations.
Harhour further added that an amount of EGP 1,000 will be disbursed for self-employed individuals and employees who were affected by the “war on terrorism”.
The armed forces have been engaged in a war against terrorism since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, mainly against “State of Sinai” militants.
The group was formerly known as “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis,” before it pledged allegiance to the “Islamic State”. The group recently kidnapped a 30-year-old Croatian citizen,Tomislav Salopek, on 22 July.
Salopek was featured in a video released by the group, giving the government a 48-hour ultimatum to release “all Muslim female captives” in prison, or else he would be killed.
The video went viral a day before the inauguration of the Suez Canal opening. The ultimatum passed on Friday, but there is no news on Salopek’s whereabouts.
The Croatian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday: “Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, we cannot give more detailed information at the moment.”