Amnesty International called Thursday for an investigation after it said an Egyptian army video apparently showed soldiers carrying out “extrajudicial executions”, including shooting a sleeping man.
In the video, posted on Facebook on Sunday by the Egyptian army’s spokesman, the narrator announces the killing of 89 militants in North Sinai, with images of soldiers apparently firing in battle.
The video “shows a soldier shooting a person at close range while asleep in a makeshift tent”, as well as an “unarmed man pounded by bullets from above, as he is running in the desert”, Amnesty said.
Egyptian forces have for years fought an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, led mainly by the local branch of the Islamic State group.
“The Egyptian Public Prosecutor must urgently investigate what appear to be extrajudicial executions,” Amnesty said, calling for those responsible to face “justice in fair trials before civilian courts”.
Since February 2018, the authorities have been conducting a nationwide operation against Islamist militants, mainly focused on North Sinai and the country’s Western Desert.
Around 1060 suspected militants and dozens of security personnel have been killed in the Sinai, according to official figures. No independently-sourced death toll is available as North Sinai is off-limits to journalists.
The gruesome video, set to dramatic music, gave no time frame for the 89 militants it reported killed.
“The deeply disturbing footage in this Egyptian military propaganda video… offers a glimpse of the shocking crimes committed in the name of countering terrorism in Egypt,” Amnesty’s Philip Luther said in a statement.
Among the weapons in the video, Amnesty said it had identified an US-made M4 carbine rifle.
Amnesty said the “international community… must urgently halt the transfer of arms or military equipment where there is a clear risk that these may be used to commit human rights violations.”