Al-Arish people’s testimonies

Al-Arish People witnessed the crimes of the IDF against the POWS whether they were Egyptians or Arabs, whether they were civilians or militaries, they saw those crimes and they didn’t forget even after decades, even after the Peace. The great people of Al-Arish respected the blood of those people, after how can they forget or ignore those horrible facts and mass graves are all over the place.

This is a very simple way to document the testimonies of Al-Arish People who don’t get bored from saying the truth over and over because they know very well one day they will be asked about this.

On Friday the 9th of March 2007, El-Akhbar Daily Egyptian Newspaper published a small article in 14 in the lower part in the “Outside Cairo” section exactly, the article was written by “Akhbar” correspondent in Al-Arish Mr. “Salah El-Alaakamy”, and it came after the “Shaked Scandal” and the calls in Egypt then to raise the case of the Egyptian POWs to the international community. The article contained several testimonies from the people there about the crimes that happened in 1967. The places covered in this article are “Abi Sakali”,”Al-Kharouba”,”Western Al-Arish” and “Lahfan” Here is the translation for these testimonies:

  •  Soliman Awaid Ibrahim from the area “Abi Sakali” said that on the second of the war that was the 6th of June 1967, seven Egyptian Soldiers were killed by the IDF and they were there for 8 days till his late father came and buried them, Not that only Mr. Awaid was among 38 Civilian POWs who were captured by the IDF and transferred to Attila Prison then the Ramala Prison then to Tel Aviv Prison for a complete 6 months before setting them free. Before transferring to Attila Prison they were kept in Al-Arish airport where he witnessed the murder of two Egyptian officers POWs by the IDF.
  • Um Al-Ayadi is a woman from Al-Arish from the same area of “Abi Sakali” , Who escaped in the same day the IDF began its capture process  against the Men and youth in the area , she went to a deserted place where she found Seven Egyptian Soldiers who didn’t wear anything except their under wears , who were killed by bullets in their heads “I think those seven Egyptian soldiers may be the soldiers Mr. Awaid mentioned above”

  • Atia Al-Ayadi “I think he is a relative or the son of the lady mentioned above” said that from 3 years ago One of the international organizations visited the place of this mass massacre of the “Seven Soldiers” and they dig till they found the skulls of the Soldiers and they examined those skulls and found that the place of the bullets in them after all those years
  •  Ali Al-Bandy said that the area of “Al-Kharouba” saw the mass massacres against the Egyptian POWs, he himself witnessed the process of killing 18 Egyptian soldier by a woman Israeli Soldier after taking their weapons “of course they wanted to make them feel the most humiliation ever by making woman kill them, we are talking here about the Egyptian Soldiers mostly from the country side in 1960s where still the superiority is for man”.  Mr. Bandy continued his testimony and said that the area also many attempts of the Egyptian Soldiers and officers to escape and hide from the hell of the IDF that they used to climb on the trees so the IDF soldiers wouldn’t see them, and that he already witnessed all these tragedies as he owns a farm in “Al-Kharouba”. He also continued and said that the area of “Western Al-Arish” saw a huge massacre against the Egyptian POWs by the IDF soldiers according to the orders of their superiors. Mr. Bandy explained what happened in that area in 1967, they classified the civilians from the militaries despite the Egyptian soldiers there were wearing civilian cloths “You see from the tragedies in 1967 war that led to our huge defeat that thousand of Egyptian soldiers were transferred to Sinai without even having their army uniforms” .Then they started killing the Egyptian POWs. The Civilians didn’t get away from that massacre, they also had they share as a Palestinian lady took over 37 bullets all over her body yet she lived for another 15 years , where as her daughter took a bullet in her eye and died immediately .
  •  Samir  Ouda Salam from” El-Mazarah” area said that he was only 9 years old when he witnessed the murder of the Egyptian POWs especially in “Lahfan” area, this time the number of the Egyptian POWs killed in this particular area reached to hundreds , hundreds of the Egyptian POWs mass graves-1swimming in their blood as he said. The one who did the dirty job where the women Soldiers in the IDF. After taking the Egyptian POWs weapons and forcing them to sit down in a Squatting position with their hands over their heads, they killed them in a cold blood. The people of “Lahfan” were kind enough to dig mass graves for those heroes and burry them there. Those graves are still there to our day. 

The next group of testimonies was published in Daily El-Masry El-Youm on the 14th of March 2007 in page number 4; the interviews were conducted by Jounralist Maher Ismail from Al-Arish,the are several areas and streets mentioned here

Misar Mustafa

70 years old, former manager in the ministry of education and from the people of Al-Arish

We carried the weapons as volunteers after the was had broke in 1967 and the If faced a huge resistance in the beginning of invasion of Al-Arish city till the 8th of June 1967 morning when the Israeli tanks succeeded in entering of some areas, we tried to protect the unarmed Egyptian soldiers and we were surprised to find groups from the IDF leading some Egyptian Soldiers making their faces to the wall side then they killed them in “Abu El-Hassan” street which is beside the famous “23 of July” street in Al-Arish. We carried whom we found as injured and as alive in a truck in order to save them and give them the required aid in Al-Arish hospital. Also during our protection to the soldiers by transferring them to the west of Suez Canal from the “Bardowill” lake we saw Israeli helicopters killing our Egyptian unarmed soldiers in the desert of Sinai.

Salam El-Gol

67 years old, from the people of “Al-Arish” from “Al-Fakhariah” quarter

I was working as the secretary of Al-Arish youth in the youth organization during the 67 war and we saw the IDF soldiers killing our soldiers in those areas “Beer El-Mosamah, Garada and Beer El-Hafan”, the Israeli heliotropes would kill our Egyptian soldier by gun machines after their surrender and raising the white flags, and it was a scene that was repeated in the streets of Al-Arish especially in the “Al-Ganadal” street and the old manufacture school where huge number of soldiers hided in , and so the Israeli air fighters bombed them , the youth in Al-Arish used to gather the bodies on carts to bury them in Al-Arish cemeteries . One of the Israeli helicopters came down and killed about 30 injured soldiers in “Beer El-Mosamah” area.

Mohamed Abd Rabou Abu-Shatiah

73 years old, from the people of “Al-Arish”, a former Member in Parliament

I was working as a political supervisor in the Youth organization during the year 1967 and I saw some Egyptian soldiers who went to “Al-Tagany” mosque to hide in, when we opened the Mosque in the time when the curfew ended to find about 40 soldiers killed whom we buried in mass graves in Al-Arish. Seven soldiers had in our housed yet they refused to wear civilian clothes like my father advice to them, when they left the house in “Makawy” street, before the end of the street they were stopped by an Israeli armored vehicle which killed them immediately. I heard many stories from witnesses who died from some time now who said that they saw huge numbers of dead bodies of Egyptian Soldiers on the sands for several days near to “Al-Makadab” village in the middle of Sinai. I was captured on 18th of August 1967 in the current building of Social affairs, which the IDF used to use as Military prison, I asked an Israeli sergeant whom I don’t recall his name now about the reasons of using that kind of violence and he told me that after the severe resistance of the people of Al-Arish, the Israeli commandership ordered us to empty the occupied the area from its people either by killing or scaring in order to reach for occupying Sinai forever, not to mention to get rid from the remaining of the retried Egyptian army so it would not return back except after very long time

On 12th of October 1995, Egyptian Daily newspaper “El-Gomharia” made a report from Sinai regarding the massacres that took place against the military and civilian Egyptians; the report included several important testimonies from eye witnesses who lived the horror of that period, what they described according to the international laws to be categorized as war crimes.

Sheikh Hassan Hussein El-Malah

65 years old

Because I live in the “El-Nakheel” area near from the beach in “Abi Sakl”, I saw the Israeli soldiers gathering the Egyptian POWs in the area with trucks, fooling them that they would be transferred to the Canal Zone with buses, then they would order them to stand and their faces towards the sea after that they would shot them leaving them killed in the place, that process Was repeated to several groups of POWs whose number nearly reached to 3000 POWs that took place in the middle of August 1967.Those bodies were left on the surface of the earth for more than 10 days till the people of the area were able from burying them in the same area. During the occupation Israel intended to hide those facts and crimes and misled the international Press.

There was an old man from “Abi Sakl”, he was 80 years old and while he was going to the mosque to pray they shot him down in front of the mosque door for no reason, the man didn’t do anything wrong, behind the old man there was a walking seller who used to sell candies for children, he wasn’t left alone too and was shot down. They would go and knock the doors and fire bolts on civilians and their families. I saw the Israeli soldiers in the “Wadi” area ordering the POWs by their hands, then to lie down on the ground then tanks would come and move over them.

There was an Egyptian officer called “Ahmed” who came to “El-Salam” mosque in “Abi Sakl”, and raised the white flag in order to be among the POWs and despite they shot 6 bolts killing him immediately.

Also they killed the imam of the Mosque Sheikh “Abdel Kadr Othman” who came from Beni Sewaif, and most people of “Abi Sakal” in that time saw the incident.

They also killed the imam of the “Hodod” mosque Sheikh “Salim Ibrahim”

I also saw “Abed El-Azar” and “Ibrahim El-Kasli” who used to carry food for the Egyptian soldiers hided from the Israelis being shot by the IDF and they were unarmed.

I remember also that the IDF soldiers made an ambush from some Egyptian Soldiers who came back from the sea shore about 100 KM from Al-Arish, they gathered them then they killed them while they were sitting on the ground raising their arms up, the one who did this criminal act was a lady soldier, tall on whom after all those years I still remember very well and I can identify her at any time.

I defy any Israeli official who suspect and deny what I say, I saw the Israelis when they gathered the civilians from the houses to the airport where they shot them down inside the trenches under the ground, after some years of the occupation, I saw the Red Cross came and gathered what it could gather from pieces and bodies and the POWs

The reporter who wrote that report back in 1995 said that Mr. Hussein led him to the burial sites of the POWs where he dig and showed him so dead bodies, Skulls and bones of the POWs who were killed by the Israeli soldiers.

Mr. Hussein continued his talk and said that

I saw big numbers of Civilian and military POWs lying down in front of the houses and heights, they would order them to raise their arms and stand in the sun direction pretending them that they were taking photographs for them but in fact they did so in order to shot them in the back from behind.

There are several mass graves in this area in the middle of the palm trees, and one of these palm trees is in one of the deserted houses in “Al-Gadid” area. Every area or spot that has oil spots in it be sure that it is a mass grave with several bodies in it, the decay of the dead bodies and the combination of the human grease with the sands create these spots. Strangely in 1973 we provided help, aid and food for the Israelis who returned defeated in the October war, we treated them humanly.

Mohamed Goma’a Al-Garaba’a

From Rafah

There are a number of mass graves for the POWs in the area of the “Brazil” camp which is on the international borders of Egypt .In “Garada” in the area of “Abu Agirm” after the “Al-Saksakah” the Israeli occupation forces used to open their fires on the unarmed Egyptian Soldiers who were wearing nothing except white under wears, those soldiers were POWs.

Sheikh Salama Arada

The area of “Al-Kharouba” was full of POWs who were killed in front my eyes.

Ismail Khataby

A landlord in “Al-Sakhra” area on the hill of “Sheikh Zowayid”

There are huge numbers there of the POWs dead bodies, they are near of 2000. I saw an Israeli helicopter landing where the POWs were gathered, it killed by its gun machines then it took off immediately.

Salah Abu Holi

A citizen of “Sheikh Zowayid” city

The Israelis attacked the camp of the Egyptian Soldiers in the area next to my land and they ordered them to lie down on the ground then the Israeli tanks passed over them.

Mustafa Hassen Mohisun Abu Mani’e

There is no single meter in Sinai with out the blood of Egyptian POW

Mohamed Sayed Ali Salah

48 years old

I saw the Israeli soldiers and they were gathering the unarmed Egyptian POWs from insider Al-Arish at the dates’ factory in the valley “Al-Wadi” between the olive trees where they killed them, the POWs number was approximately 700 to 800.In “Sheikh Zowayid” they gathered the soldiers of the Police station of “Borders branch”, they were unarmed, their number was over the hundred, they took behind “Al-Salam hotel” and shot them down.

On the 9th of April which remarks the day of “The Arabic Prisoner of War” The National progressive Unionist party organized a lecture in North Sinai at Al-Arish where several speakers from the people of Al-Arish and those who were prisoners in the Israeli prisons like the famous Mahmoud El-Sawarka to talk about their experiences and what they had seen and witnessed from the IDF war crimes during the years of occupation especially in the early months that followed the June 1967 concerning the massacres of the POWs

The first speaker was the famous Mahmoud El-Sawarka, who was considered the oldest Egyptian prisoner in the Israeli prisoners as he stayed for more than 25 years, he spoke his terrible experience in the Israeli prisons and despite its importance yet more concern here will be about what he had witnessed in 1967 from crimes against the Egyptian POWs in Al-Arish.

Mahmoud El-Sawarka

A former POW

The Egyptian soldiers used to burry their weapons in the sands and we had seen the Zionists gathering the Egyptian soldiers in order to burn them alive, they had burned the Egyptian soldiers alive in “Abu Tawilo”, “Beer Lahfan”, “El-Hanta”, “Abi Agila” ,”Lobuna Mount” and “El-Magara”

Said Abu Gareer

A citizen from El-Medan village

We had seen the IDF soldiers gathering the soldiers in concentration centers where they would open fire to kill them all, they used to make them stand in rows and shot them down. They even used to leave many of the Egyptian Soldiers alone in the deserts without capture as they were sure that those men would die from thirst, I had seen by myself one of the big rank officers in the Egyptian army asking one of the Israeli soldiers to capture him so he wouldn’t die from thirst yet he was left alone in the desert.

Zaki Ahmed Gad El-Karim

A former corporal in the army during the Six days war in the 7th Brigade in the “Masura” area west of “Rafah”

The Israelis captured my colleagues in the Brigade and they made the tanks passed over them by the tanks while they were raising their hands

I hided in one of the damaged tranches till I managed to escape at night, I walked in the desert for three days with a colleague of mine called Othman till we reached to one of the valleys to be surprised to find a half tracked Israeli vehicle chasing and shooting us, I hided behind one of the dunes while my colleague was killed.

I was found in the morning by one of the Bedouins who hosted me for two months till I managed with the help of some people to enter “Al-Arish” where I was hospitalized in the General hospital, there I saw hundreds from the Egyptian officers and soldiers from different ranks where they had faked ids confirming that they were from the people of “Al-Arish” and that their medical cases need to be treated in Cairo so they would be able to get out of Sinai.

Tewfik Sharif

A citizen of Al-Arish

I was 18 years old in the year 1967, a student in the secondary stage. I witnessed the POWs in the “Al-Arish” airport and how they were bombed by the Napalm and after the departure of the Zionists from the airport we managed to burry them.

This group of testimonies and the lecture were covered by the reporter of “Al-Masryon” E-Newspaper in Al-Arish “Said El-Lathy” on the 9th of April 2007

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