Military investigating alleged video of army personnel torturing citizens

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The military is investigating a video which circulated on Tuesday showing citizens being subjected to torture at the hands of men dressed in army uniform, reported Aswat Masriya on Wednesday.

The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat Masriya that the investigation is being held to “confirm the authenticity of the video.” He added that the results of the investigation will be “transparently” announced.

A video was posted on Tuesday on a Palestinian news Facebook page entitled “Felesteen Online” showing men dressed in army uniforms, as well as plain-clothes, kicking and beating citizens and using Arabic curse words in an Egyptian dialect. The page described the video as “painful torture exercised by the Egyptian army during their Sinai operations.”

The video has been widely circulating on social media since then. Aswat Masriya could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.

Security forces began evacuating the area bordering Sinai’s Rafah on Tuesday evening, reported state-run news agency MENA. The evacuation involves 300 metres into the borders for the creation of a buffer zone.

A joint committee of the armed forces and the Rafah City Council has surveyed the houses located on the eastern border of Rafah in preparation for their evacuation, sources within the committee said. The sources, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat Masriya that over 880 houses with 10,000 inhabitants have been surveyed.

Residents were either offered financial compensation, a piece of land or a housing unit in exchange for evacuating their houses. The third option was completely eliminated, the sources said.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.

At least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid on Friday, in the worst militant attack since Morsi’s ouster. The explosion also caused damage to two military vehicles.

Shortly afterwards, a separate attack by unidentified gunmen on a security checkpoint in Al-Arish killed three more security personnel.

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and a night-time curfew in parts of the Sinai Peninsula in response to the deadly attacks.

Authorities have also discussed creating a buffer zone on Egypt’s borders with the Palestinian Gaza Strip to allow security forces to target militants in the area.

Gaza’s ruling body, Hamas, criticised the buffer zone in a Monday statement, saying it would reinforce the siege imposed on the Strip since 2007.