Sat. Nov 27th, 2021

Rapport says French intelligence was involved in at least 19 Egyptian airstrikes on civilians between 2016 and 2018.

Egypt has used intelligence provided by the French military to target and kill civilians suspected of smuggling, according to a report by the investigative website Disclose, based on leaked documents.

French opposition MPs immediately called for a parliamentary committee to be set up to investigate the allegations, while Defense Minister Florence Parly ordered her own inquiry into the publication of the report on Sunday.

“Sirli”, the name of the mission between the two countries, is designed to provide information on security threats along Egypt’s western border with Libya, Disclose said.

“In principle, the mission was to search the Western Desert to find possible terrorist threats coming from Libya,” he said, using a light aircraft designed for surveillance and reconnaissance.

“But very quickly the (French) members of the team understand that the intelligence provided to the Egyptians is used to kill civilians who are suspected of it. [carrying] smuggling, ”the website wrote.

French military personnel regularly notified their superiors of the misuse of the information, it added.

Disclosure based its report on hundreds of classified documents about the operation that were leaked to him.

According to these documents, between 2016 and 2018, the French army was involved in at least 19 airstrikes on civilians.

Calls for inquiries

Operation Sirli began in February 2016 during the presidency of Francois Hollande.

This continued despite reservations expressed by both the French military intelligence (DRM) and the air force about the way Egypt used the intelligence, Public said.

One such note was addressed to Defense Minister Parly on 22 January 2019 ahead of an official visit to Egypt by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Neither the French presidency nor the army responded to requests for comment from the journalists who conducted the investigation.

Within hours of the story being published, a statement from France’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that the two countries had arrangements in the area of ​​intelligence and counter-terrorism.

However, referring to security reasons, they were not prepared to say more about the matter.

The statement said an investigation was being launched into the information revealed by Disclose.

The left-wing opposition France Unbowed party has issued a statement calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the allegations.

The party called on Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who served as defense minister during the Dutch presidency, to appear before parliament to respond to the allegations.

Although France has expressed a desire to refocus its arms exports on Europe, Egypt remains one of its main customers. Its sales there increased significantly when President el-Sisi took power in 2014. Since then, Egypt has bought France’s Rafale fighter jet, a frigate, four corvettes and two Mistral helicopter carriers.

In December 2020, Macron awarded el-Sisi the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor France can offer, which provoked anger among activists who criticized its human rights record.

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