WikiLeaks: Iran recruiting Beduin for Gaza arms smuggling

December 16, 2010 20:32

Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told US officials last year that Iran was trying to recruit Beduin in the Sinai Peninsula to help smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, a US State Department cable released by WikiLeaks said, according to Reuters.

According to the cable 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." The cable said the US and Egypt had differing perceptions of "the Iranian threat."

Acoording 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.'"

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