Update: Defense Minister vows LE1 billion for Sinai development
Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed to dedicate LE1 billion for the development of the Sinai peninsula from the army's budget, deeming that "development is the solution for Sinai and not arms."
Sisi, who arrived in Rafah Monday to check on the security situation in the city, has 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 them in their meeting.
Sisi 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. 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."
Security forces were spurred to act on a deteriorating security situation in the peninsula when a group of masked gunmen attacked an Egyptian army checkpoint earlier this month, killing 16.
Air force commander Reda Hafez joined Sisi in his meeting with Sinai tribal leaders and political leaderships in the area.
Hafez arrived in Sinai Sunday to follow up on "Operation Eagle," which the Egyptian security forces claim will purge Sinai of criminal havens.
The visits come two days after a complete halt in the security campaigns during the first two days of the Eid holiday.
The Egyptian army is the second largest recipient of US aid after Israel.
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