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Sinai tribal leader says military curfew harms residents, helps terrorists

Sheikh Naeem Gabr, the general coordinator for the Tribes of North Sinai Coalition, speaks to Al-Monitor about the impact the protracted battle between the army and extremist groups has had on Sinai residents.
Boys look at a burnt area around a house after assaults on militant targets by the Egyptian Army, in a village on the outskirts of Sheikh Zuweid, near the city of El-Arish in Egypt's Sinai peninsula September 10, 2013. Egypt has tightened control of crossings from the Sinai peninsula and continued assaults on militants after an Islamist group based there said it tried to kill the interior minister in Cairo last week, the state news agency reported on Monday. REUTERS/Stringer  (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL U
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The battle in the northern Sinai Peninsula between the Egyptian military and extremist groups is still raging amid talk about development and the parliament agreeing to the government's plan to carry out King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's development plan for Sinai. Sheikh Naeem Gabr, the general coordinator for the Tribes of North Sinai Coalition, spoke to Al-Monitor in an exclusive interview concerning the tribes' stance on the battle, as well as his assessment of Salman's plan for developing Sinai and how the military curfew hinders any attempts at development.

Gabr stressed that both Muslims and Christians have been targeted by recent attacks, in an attempt by radical groups to "undermine stability." While he commended the Saudi plan for developing the region, he pointed out that it does not include the areas in the northern part of the peninsula that are witnessing the fiercest battles. He stressed the importance of development, calling it "the greatest weapon against terrorism."

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