Egypt hires Bedouin guards for Sinai gas pipeline

The companies managing the pipeline that supplies Israel with Egyptian natural gas have contracted Bedouin tribes to protect the facility, an official told the state-run news agency MENA on Monday.

North Sinai Governor Abdel Wahab Mabrouk said the Egyptian Natural Gas Company contracted several tribes. The pipeline passes through tribal areas.

Unknown attackers have bombed the Sinai pipeline five times since February.

Six individuals will be assigned to each of the 31 gas stations, Mabrouk told London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat, while others have been hired to protect the areas between each station.

The gas export deal signed between Egypt and Israel in 2005 has met public opposition. Opponents to the deal say the prices are lower than international rates.

The natural gas supply to Israel has stopped since the fourth explosion on 4 July.

Mabrouk said repair work on the pipeline has yet to start and that spare parts are being prepared for it.

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