Egypt’s new Defense Minister, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, vowed on Monday to dedicate LE1 billion for the development of the Sinai Peninsula from the army's budget, the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.
Al-Sisi was quoted as having said that “development is the solution for Sinai and not arms.” He made the comments as he arrived in Rafiah to check on the security situation in the city and met with tribal leaders.
“The Armed Forces are determined to pull arms out of Sinai completely and are ready to pay in return for arms handed in by Bedouins,” he told the tribal leaders, according to in Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Al-Sisi reportedly demanded that tribal leaders collaborate with the Armed Forces to identify suspects wanted by the security.
“We won't allow armed men in Sinai to threaten the security of the nation,” he said adding, “In the next days, we shall announce the names of all those implicated in the killing of Egyptian soldiers on the border, once the military operation is over.”
Egypt has launched a crackdown on Sinai terrorism in recent days, in response to the terror attack near the border with Israel last week, in which 16 Egyptian officers were killed.
A report from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has indicated that international terrorist groups with roots in Libya, Sudan and Iraq are working to take over the Sinai Peninsula.
A report on Kol Yisrael radio this week indicated that Egypt has moved anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles into the Sinai Peninsula, without Israel’s permission. Such equipment is prohibited in Sinai by the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
The Israeli government has asked Egypt to withdraw the armored vehicles it deployed in Sinai 11 days ago, in contravention of the peace treaty between the two nations, according to Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which quotes Israeli sources.
Israel said that the deployment of armored forces in the El Arish area was only reported to it retroactively by Egypt, after the forces had already been deployed. Once Egypt supplied Israel with the full details about the extent of the deployment, the Jewish state asked Egypt to withdraw its armor from northern Sinai.
A recent report on a Qatari website indicated the terror group Army of Islam, an Al-Qaeda inspired Gaza-based terrorist group that wishes to see Gaza run by Muslim Sharia law, is behind the terror attack in the Sinai Peninsula.