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The Sinai Bedouins tribal youth union called on security officials to disclose information about Operation Eagle, and to prosecute officials who have been negligent or slow in taking measures to protect the soldiers of the Rafah border crossing checkpoint.
In a meeting in Sheikh Zuwayed on Thursday evening, the union said that the state must combat Sinai’s extreme poverty if they really want to achieve stability in the region.
Operation Eagle has harmed the people of Sinai, said union member Mostafa al-Atrash. “Masked men enter our homes, and the process has become inhumane,” he added.
"The people of Sinai know the area best, the son of Sinai know better than the security personnel coming from [elsewhere] ... why don’t the people of Sinai have a role in the operation?" he asked.
Hassan Hantoush, also in attendance at the meeting, said: "The process has started to veer to the pre-revolution practices."
Hantoush claimed that President Mohamed Morsy is trying to turn Sinai into a scapegoat for the Egyptian people.
Announcing that the Armed Forces killed 20 terrorists in Sinai was a grave mistake, because it caused concern in European countries and in Israel, and creates an image of Sinai as a terrorist stronghold, Hantoush continued.
The Egyptian state is now following the American model of creating a false enemy in order to draw attention away from other issues, claimed union member Hassan al-Nakhlawy. So far, the Egyptian state has been acting in the interests of Israel, he alleged.
Saeed A'ateeq, coordinator of the union, said that what is happening in Sinai is the "result of 30 years of the absence of the state in Sinai in general and in the border region in particular. Imagine a citizen walking 12 km to take his son to school in order to receive a basic education, and who drinks water at LE750 per month because there is no water in the Sinai, and who lives in a house and a land he does not own."
The state will not be able to eradicate terrorism without eradicating Sinai’s extreme poverty, A’ateeq continued.
" What bothers us is that until now we are still under the policy of [former President] Hosni Mubarak, and there is no transparency. If the intelligence services or the security services failed to identify the saboteurs and the terrorist groups, we have to worry about Egypt, dramatically. I think we are facing a historic responsibility and whoever colluded [with the militants] or slowed down of the decision-making officials to prevent the accident should face trial,” said A’ateeq.
"There are no investments in Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah. The state has to create job opportunities in the border areas, so that residents do not resort to making deals with Hamas on smuggling through tunnels, or resort to helping undocumented African migrants cross the border," he concluded.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm