Egypt nabs 4 Israeli guards in Red Sea

Israelis panic when approached by Egyptian coast guard, dump weapons overboard, arousing suspicions; detainees eventually released.

September 9, 2011 10:06
1 minute read.
Egyptian security boat in Red Sea [illustrative]

egyptian boat red sea 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Egyptian security forces on Wednesday arrested four Israeli security guards on an Israeli vessel in the Straits of Tiran, the Foreign Ministry allowed for publication on Friday.

The four were being ferried to Eilat after disembarking from a cargo ship on its way to the Suez Canal.

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The ship was carrying weapons and ammunition that it received from the Ofer Sfanot company and that were meant to be used for protection from Somali pirates.

When Egyptian security forces approached the vessel, the guards apparently panicked – despite being legally employed – and threw their weapons overboard. This aroused the suspicions of the Egyptians, who arrested the four security guards as well as the four-man crew, presuming criminal activity.

The Foreign Ministry worked to explain the misunderstanding and secure the freedom of the guards and crew. All eight were released and returned to Eilat Friday morning.

Egyptian authorities released the ship on Saturday morning, Israel Radio reported.

Israeli security guards are often employed to protect cargo on ships as they sail off the coast of Africa, for fear of pirate attacks. The guards disembark before the ships enter the Gulf of Suez, as weapons are forbidden in the Suez Canal.

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