In recent years the North Sinai desert has become a hot bed for Islamic militants. The situation has grown more acute due to a dangerous cocktail of local political grievances, smuggling networks into the neighboring Gaza Strip, and the looming presence of Israel on the nearby border…

“Sinai is a problem for Egypt,” said the diplomatic source. “But so would be a sustained campaign to address the problems there, which would bring the added risk of failure.”…

“The North Sinai has strong tribal networks,” he said. “It would be hard for any strangers of foreigners to take shelter there because everybody would know about it.”

However it is well known that some Bedouin Arabs – who for decades suffered under-development, job discrimination and persecution at the hands of Hosni Mubarak’s regime – have established close links with both Egyptian jihadi groups and armed factions inside the Gaza Strip.