Three villages on the border of the Gaza Strip have been at the forefront of an Egyptian military push to battle militants in the Sinai starting in early September.
Youm7 visited the villages of Mahdeya, Mokata and Goz Abu-Raad from September 10th to the 12th. The effects of the military campaign remained; many houses and cars were damaged and burnt.
A number of villages in the Sinai have witnessed an increase in violence from extremist “takfiris,” Islamic fundamentalists who accuse other Muslims of apostasy.
One resident told Youm7 that their village had witnessed armored vehicles and bombing by military aircraft. He added that the security forces inspected houses and burned some of them, causing panic among women and children.
The residents of Mokata village said that they sought protection with nearby peace keeping troops during the military operation to avoid being targeted.
One resident blamed extremist groups for the problems, saying that they used young people to do their work. He also expressed his hope that the country would restore stability and eliminate terrorism.
Sheikh Mohamed Ali, a judge who shelters Africans escaping from smuggling gangs, said that his house was burnt, and said he hoped the government would eliminate the extremist elements. He warned, however, of deteriorating relations between the state and the local residents, saying that it could serve the interests of Israel.