“Egyptian military and police forces in the Sinai Peninsula are committing serious and widespread abuses against civilians,” the HRW said in a 134-page report published on Tuesday.
Some of the alleged abuses, the group said, “amount to war crimes.”
HRW’s report was researched from 2016-2018 and is based on interviews with more than 50 North Sinai residents, activists, journalists, and other witnesses, including former government and military officials, as well as satellite images, Presstv Reported.
The body accused Egyptian forces of mass arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial killings, and possibly unlawful air and ground attacks against civilians.
Children as young as 12 have also been detained in routine sweeps eventually being held in secret prisons, HRW said.
According to the report, some detainees died in custody due to ill-treatment, lack of medical care, and torture.
The HRW said that tens of thousands of Sinai residents were forcibly evicted or fled in recent years.
The report also documented abuses by Sinai Province (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis), the local branch of the Daesh terrorist group.
“While Egyptian military and police forces were responsible for the majority of abuses documented in the report, extremist militants have also committed horrific crimes, including kidnapping and torturing scores of residents, killing some, and extrajudicially executing detained security force members,” it said.
Over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks in Egypt, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup in July 2013.
The Egyptian army last year launched a full-scale counterterrorism military campaign, dubbed “Sinai 2018,” on an order by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after a terror attack in North Sinai claimed the lives of more than 300 people at a mosque.
The army says 650 suspected terrorists have been slain in the operation.