News24

Egypt minister vows to uproot militants

2012-08-20 22:17

El-Arish - Egypt's new defence minister is vowing to crack down on militants in the largely lawless Sinai Peninsula, offering to pay Bedouins to collect weapons.

According to Egypt's official news agency and a tribal leader who met with him, Defence Minister Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi listened to complaints from the Bedouins, especially about smuggling through an elaborate tunnels network between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

El-Sissi told a gathering of leaders that the government has allocated $165m for Sinai development.

The tribal leader requested anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters.

El-Sissi's visit on Monday was his first since assuming his post as the country's defence minister in the aftermath of the 6 August killing of 16 soldiers near Egypt's borders with Gaza and Israel.