A Bedouin from the Tayaha tribe holds his weapon during an operation accompanying the Egyptian military in central Sinai.
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An elder from the Bedouin Tayaha tribe, he has seen armies, both Egyptian and Israeli, pass through this vast desert. Now the area is the center of a yearslong, bloody conflict between the Egyptian military and a local affiliate of Daesh (ISIS).In a switch from the past, the military has begun arming Bedouin tribesmen like Abu Sefira and having them patrol in operations against the Daesh militants deep in the peninsula's interior, where their local knowledge gives them an advantage, Abu Sefira and other Bedouin say.The military has not publicly acknowledged arming and using the Bedouin as a fighting force, saying only that they cooperate and provide intelligence.In the operation, the army has employed a force known as the Abdel-Salam group, with several thousand Bedouin, deployed in central parts of Sinai.The tribesmen estimate that around 100 Bedouin have been killed, whether in gunbattles or by roadside bombs. They said they operate under Egypt's Third Army and are regularly attached to its units, with 4x4s and armored vehicles.
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