Tantawi: Sinai's security situation is 100% secure

Egyptian military ruler responds to comments by US defense secretary, says Egypt in control of areas in Sinai where troops can be deployed.

Muhammad Tantawi (photo credit: REUTERS)
Muhammad Tantawi
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Egyptian military ruler Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi said Tuesday he was confident that Egypt had military control over the Sinai peninsula, Egyptian newspaperAl Ahram reported, a day after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta raised the issue during a meeting with Tantawi in Cairo.
Israel allowed Egypt to move more troops into the Sinai peninsula after terrorists infiltrated the Israeli-Egyptian border and carried out terror attacks that killed eight Israelis.
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Militants blew up a natural gas pipeline in northern Sinai that provides gas to Israel and Jordan for the sixth time last week. The damage to the flow of gas cost Israel nearly NIS 10 million a day last summer.
"Sinai's military situation is 100 percent secure," Tantawi told reporters on Wednesday.
The Egyptian military ruler stressed that Egypt had "complete control" in the areas where Egypt is allowed to deploy troops, as per the peace accords signed with Israel in 1979.
He also stressed the importance played by Sinai's Beduin in helping to maintain security, a development, he said, dates back to the "glorious October War in 1973," Al Ahram reported. 

The com
panies managing the natural gas pipeline contracted local Beduin in August to help protect it from attack.

Panetta told Tantawi on Monday in Cairo that the US was concerned over the potential attacks from Sinai
, the Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.
The US defense secretary said it was in the US's "best interest" to equip the Egyptian military to combat "shared threats," MENA said, adding that the US would be happy to work with Egypt to provide better security.