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A secret meeting between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater and a number of tribal chiefs from Sinai’s Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah was held Monday in Cairo, according to Abdel Rahman al-Shorbagy, the North Sinai secretary for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
The meeting discussed the security situation in Sinai and its economic future in light of plans to establish a free commercial zone in the city of Rafah, Shorbagy told Al-Masry Al-Youm. It also tackled reactions to anti-militant operations in Sinai by the Armed Forces.
Shorbagy said the tribal leaders had a positive impression of the meeting.
Abdallah Qandil, director of the North Sinai Chamber of Commerce, also said that bilateral meetings were held between the chamber and officials from Hamas.
Residents of Sinai began calling for development projects under former President Hosni Mubarak. Observers believe the former regime's indifference to the peninsula contributed to the rise of extremist groups currently destabilizing the area.
Armed Forces Media spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali said in a press conference Saturday that LE1.65 billion was allocated to the development process in Sinai.
The Sinai Bedouin tribal youth union said last month that the state must combat Sinai’s extreme poverty if it is serious about stabilizing the area.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm