The Egyptian security services have seized a weapons consignment including Grad
rockets, the Egyptian press reported on Wednesday.
Security sources said
a gang had smuggled the consignment – consisting of 108 Grad rocket warheads and
19,646 rounds of ammunition – into the seaport of Marsa Matruh, according to
Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Youm.
The consignment was most likely destined
for Gaza but could also have been en route to buyers in Egypt’s increasingly
Al-Masry al-Youm cited unnamed security sources as saying
a gang of three Egyptian suspects fled into the desert around Marsa Matruh,
leaving behind the weapons consignment after security services ambushed
The security services suspect the gang specializes in smuggling
narcotics, light and heavy weaponry and ammunition from outside of Egypt and
selling them to “clients” inside the country, according to the report.
did not speculate as to the source of the weapons. However, Marsa Matruh is on
the main highway from the Nile Delta to Libya, a country Egyptian security
officials have named as the source of many of the weapons being sold on Egypt’s
black market and smuggled into Gaza.
Over the past year, Egypt has seized
several weapons consignments that originated in Libya, including in Marsa
According to a report in The Washington Post last year, large
caches of weapons have flooded into Egypt from Libya, including surface-to-air
missiles, rockets and anti-aircraft guns. The missiles are smuggled into Sinai
and then into Gaza via networks of tunnels.
In addition to Libya, weapons
are also being smuggled into Gaza and Sinai from Sudan and from Lebanon, via
Iranian proxy Hezbollah.
A report in the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar newspaper
on Monday noted that Israel has not managed to completely disable weapons supply
lines into Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense.
Hamas has even
received shipments of long-range weapons from Hezbollah over the past several
days, according to Al-Akhbar.
The report said most of the weapons
originate in Iranian and Syrian ports, and are transported to Sinai via Sudan.
The arms shipments are coordinated by a communications network that connects
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Syrian army, Hamas and
Al-Akhbar quoted anonymous sources familiar with Palestinian
“resistance groups” as saying that Iran and Hezbollah have succeeded in keeping
open their weapons supply lines and are focusing now on transporting long-range
missiles to Gaza.
Hamas has fired 122mm. Grad rockets – also known as
Katyushas – and Grad-style copies at Israel since 2006, using portable
single-tube launchers. The rockets have a range of around 40 kilometers.