Egypt has beefed up its forces in the Sinai Peninsula following threats of Bedouin terrorists to blow up the pipeline that pumps to Israel one third of its natural gas needs.
The armed terrorist cell is believed to consist of 12 Bedouins, whose leader Salim Lafi escaped from a prison truck in February.
The Egyptian government has faced violent opposition for the deal that supplies Israel with the gas, and Bedouin tribes, many of whom are involved in trafficking of slave labor, drugs and weapons, resent the presence of Egyptian authorities.
The gas is extracted from the Northern Sinai and pumped from the coastal city of El-Arish to the Israeli port at Ashkelon.
Israel’s dependence on the gas may drop to zero in the next four years as the Jewish State begins using its own natural gas following the discovery of huge offshore energy fields opposite the Mediterranean Coast. However, the Egyptian deal with Israel is for a 15-year period.