Egypt recruits Sinai Beduin to protect natural gas pipeline

Firms transporting natural gas to Israel contract Beduin tribes to guard facilities after gas line to Israel was attacked five times this year.

Sinai Bedouin guns pipeline_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Sinai Bedouin guns pipeline_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
The companies managing the pipeline that transports Egyptian natural gas to Israel have contracted Beduin tribes to protect the facilities – sabotaged five times already since the start of this year – Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency reported Monday.
North Sinai Gov. Abdel Wahab Mabrouk said the Egyptian Natural Gas Company had contracted several tribes whose traditional territories the pipeline passes through.
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Mabrouk told the Londonbased newspaper Asharq al- Awsat that six individuals would be assigned to each of the 31 gas stations, while an unspecified number of other guards would protect the pipeline between those stations.
The Egypt-Israel pipeline was attacked Saturday for the third time in July and the fifth time since February.
“The investigation is not over yet,” Mabrouk told the paper’s Arabic edition of the latest incident.
“And we are currently questioning a number of suspects in the incident in order to find those responsible for the planning and implementation of the attack.”
Gas flow between Israel and Egypt has been halted since the fourth explosion, on July 4. Mabrouk said repair work on the pipeline has yet to begin.
Egyptian security sources told the state-run Al-Ahram daily this week that the pipeline blasts – and attacks on security forces in northern Sinai that killed five officers last week – were the work of al-Qaida-inspired groups.
The 2005 gas deal between Israel and Egypt has been controversial, with many Egyptians resentful at what they say are below-