EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) -- 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.