Connections in North Sinai

     The first thing people in North Sinai do when they get up is checking their cell phones to make sure that the connections are still working and unfortunately they are disappointed almost everyday. This is the reality which we got used to during all that time since last September after the military operations started in  North Sinai. Almost everyday we get up to find the connections disabled and this lasts for about 12 hours ( more or less). 

    The users of the different mobile networks in North Sinai decided to sue the operating companies for the repeated disconnection and the delay in regaining the connection. There were events on Facebook inviting people to sue companies specially Mobinil for the repeated and long time disconnections but that was in vain. Two protests were held down town Arish city against disconnecting the connections, one of the organizers of the first protest (a founding  member of 6 April movement in North Sinai) was detained for one day.

      The problem is not only about cell phones, but this disconnection affects the work in many places like the post office, banks,and the civil records. Marwa R. says:" I went repeatedly to the civil records HQ to renew my ID but every time I go I find that it's not working due to the disabled connections."

     Many officials suffer from a delay in getting their salaries because the banks stop working whenever the networks are disconnected, a woman says:" I've been trying to get my salary for days now and it doesn't work every time I go to the bank. I'm just waiting for the connections to be switched on and I'll just hurry to the bank maybe I can do it today." 

    The retired also suffer in getting their pension and it's much worth with most of them in a bad need for medications.Recently only Arish branch of The National Bank and Bank Misr ( the Islamic branch) have started to use satellite based internet service to be able to work during day time while the connections are down in North Sinai.

     Many teachers travel every day from Arish to Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah or to Central Sinai ( Hasana and Nekhel cities) passing by very dangerous roads with IEDs, shooting and clashes between the army and militants. It happened twice that teachers were passing in their bus during clashes and they got shot and some were badly injured. In such cases, families are so worried and need to make sure their family members working in those places are OK, but no connections. 

    Another complain comes from those owning shops for computer and Internet services, cyper cafes or mobiles shops, as their work is kind of stopped while they really need the money for their families, shops rent and even for bank loans payments.

     Whenever the networks are working every body tries to do all they need using cell phones or the Internet, but another shock comes out as the service is so bad even in those few hours everyday. People can hardly make a phone call and it turns out so bad with both sides unable to hear anything.

     Security officials say that they disconnect the connections because the militants use cell phones to communicate and to explode IEDs. 

     Some people are angry with this daily suffering and commented saying that the Israeli and Palestinean networks are so strong and covering Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid and even sometimes Arish, so the militants are not in that bad need for the Egyptian networks and then it's not a solution for stopping them and the only result is the daily suffering of the normal peaceful civilians. 

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