Gaza smuggling tunnel 311.
(photo credit: Ashley Bates)
Egyptian security forces seized a weapons cache in the Sinai Peninsula that was suspected of being prepared for smuggling into the Gaza Strip, Palestinian news agency Ma'an quoted officials as saying on Saturday.
A number of anti-aircraft missiles and several tons of TNT were among the weapons seized in the operation in northern Sinai, according to the report.
Security in Sinai has deteriorated since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising last February, the anniversary of which was marked on Saturday.The Jerusalem Post
reported in December that Hamas had established forward bases
and rocket production facilities in Sinai in an effort to protect them from Israeli air strikes.
Israel has called on Cairo to increase its efforts to restore order in Sinai and to prevent attacks, but the Egyptian military has held back from dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the Peninsula.
More than a dozen Egyptian army battalions allowed into Sinai with Israel’s permission (required because of limits placed on Egyptian forces there under the Camp David peace treaty) are still operating there, although with limited success in stopping terrorist activity and arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip.
Recent arms smuggled into Gaza have included advanced weaponry stolen from Libyan military storehouses such as Russian- made shoulder-to-air missiles.Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.