Sinai Bedouin are now aligning with Egypt against ISIS

by WorldTribune Staff, May 5, 2017

Fed up with continued clashes with the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Sinai, Bedouins are now offering assistance to an Egyptian government with which they often refused to cooperate in the past.

According to an April 29 report in Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, ISIS affiliate Sinai Province over the past three years has shot and killed 300 members of Bedouin tribes in Sinai and beheaded another 200 Bedouins for allegedly “collaborating” with the Egyptian army and police forces.

Tarabin tribesmen in Sinai.

The Tarabin tribe last month published a statement calling on all Bedouin tribes to unite in order to fight the terrorism threat.

The statement said that the Bedouin tribes are connected by blood, religion, and homeland, and that they can respond with force and strike “those who wear masks and guns, paid by external bodies who are enemies of the Egyptian state.”

“We are determined to get rid of those who burn, kill, and rob in the name of religion,” said Tarabin leader Ibrahim al-Raja’i. Four Bedouin tribes responded to the call by the Tarabin.

The Tarabin tribe controls the area from south of Rafah until central Sinai, and on all the smuggling routes in the area. In addition, the Tarabin tribe has a large military force and weapons that ISIS does not have, local media said.

Sources in the al-Sawarkah tribe told Al-Yawm al-Sab’a that a large number of tribe members were already fighting alongside the Egyptian army against ISIS.

The Egyptian government welcomed the Tarabin statement as the tribes now can provide real-time intelligence to security forces on the location of ISIS operatives in Sinai.