Egypt Uses French Military Aid to 'Kill Civilians' over Smuggling: Report
Story Code : 964847
According to a report by investigative website Disclose, based on leaked documents, the French military was implicated in at least 19 airstrikes carried out by the Egyptian army against civilians between 2016 and 2018.
According to Iranian News Agency, the mission between the two countries was codenamed Operation Sirli, which the report notes was designed to provide intelligence on militants' movements along Egypt's western border with Libya.
The documents, kept confidential under France’s “national defence secrecy” regulations (“le secret de la défense nationale”), originate from the services of the presidential office, the Élysée Palace, the French Armed Forces Ministry, and the French Military Intelligence Services, notes the report by Disclose.
The documents, it states, show "how this military cooperation exercise, kept secret from the public, was diverted from its original mission, that of reconnaissance of terrorist activity, in favour of a campaign of arbitrary executions", which involved state crimes about which the French presidential office was informed, but took no action.
“In principle, the mission...consisted of searching the Western Desert to find possible terrorist threats coming from Libya", using a light aircraft designed for surveillance and reconnaissance,” the report said.
“But very quickly, the (French) members of the team understand that the intelligence supplied to the Egyptians are used to kill civilians suspected of contraband,” it added.
Operation Sirli began in February 2016 during the government of President Francois Hollande and continued despite the qualms expressed by both French military intelligence (DRM) and the airforce about the way Egypt was using the intelligence, report stated.