Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal al-Din
Bedouin tribal leaders in Egypt's Sinai peninsula have agreed to help restore security in the lawless border area with the Gaza Strip and Israel.
In talks with Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal al-Din, they also backed plans to destroy smuggling tunnels into Gaza.
The move comes as Egyptian troops mass in the area in an operation to contain Islamist militants who have built up a presence in the area.
The militants are suspected of killing 16 Egyptian border guards on Sunday.
Egypt has deployed extra troops, tanks and other armoured vehicles.
On Friday, Egypt's state-run Nile TV said nine "terrorists" had been arrested in the region.
Gamal al-Din met the tribal leaders late on Thursday night at al-Arish, about 50km (30 miles) west of the Gaza border, to ask for their support.
He later told reporters: "With the help of the people [of Sinai], the mission will succeed."
Sheikh Atef Zayed, a member of Al-Rishad tribe, said all present had pledged to support the military's operation.
"Egypt's security is a part of Sinai's security," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.
Another tribal leader, Eid Abu Marzuka, said the tribes had also reached a consensus that the tunnels should be destroyed.
"Let Hamas be upset, we don't care," he said, of the Islamist group which control the Gaza Strip.
Marzuka said Israel's contact with Palestinians in Gaza should be through the official Rafah border crossing.
"We are against smuggling, and against the siege," he added, referring to Israel's blockade of the enclave.
There are hundreds of illegal tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border - they are used to get goods past the blockade but also to smuggle in weapons and people.
The militants who launched Sunday's attacks are believed to have used the tunnels as an escape route.