• 16:49
  • Tuesday ,21 August 2012

Egypt's Defense Minister Vows to Uproot Militants

by ABC News

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Tuesday ,21 August 2012

Egypt's Defense Minister Vows to Uproot Militants

Egypt's new defense 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, Defense Minister Lt. Gen. 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 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($165 million) for Sinai development.

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

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