WikiLeaks: Iran's influence spreads like cancer

Mubarak warns that Iran, Hizbullah attempting to "stand up a cell within Egypt," recruiting Sinai Beduin to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

December 17, 2010 01:57
1 minute read.
A Gaza smuggling tunnel.

Gaza smuggling tunnel 311. (photo credit: Ashley Bates)

Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told US officials last year that Iran was recruiting Sinai Beduin to help smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, a US State Department cable released by WikiLeaks was reported Thursday as saying.

According to the cable cited by Reuters, Suleiman “expressed concern over Hizbullah’s first attempt to stand up a cell within Egypt, and noted to us that Iran was also trying to recruit support from the Sinai Bedouins, he claimed, in order to facilitate arms smuggling to Gaza.”

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The cable said the US and Egypt had differing perceptions of “the Iranian threat.”

According to the leaked document, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saw Iran’s nuclear program as a “long term” threat, but was more concerned with other aspects of the Iranian threat.

“What has seized his immediate attention are Iran’s non-nuclear destabilizing actions such as support for Hamas, media attacks, weapons and illicit funds smuggling, all of which add up in his mind to ‘Iranian influence spreading like a cancer from the GCC (Gulf Arab states) to Morocco,’” it said.

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