weapons guns arms seized by police 390.
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara expressed outrage on
Tuesday at an Egyptian court that sentenced two Israelis to life in prison on
charges of smuggling a machine gun and ammunition across the Israeli border into
One of the Israelis is in Egyptian custody, while the other
defendant was tried in absentia. A Ukrainian was also
“The court’s decision to give a life sentence for bearing
unauthorized ammunition was political rather than legal,” Kara said. “The
Egyptian authorities were merely looking for a sacrificial lamb due to situation
in Gaza.” Kara said one of the Israelis sentenced was Mouad Zehalka of Kafr
According to the court that issued the conviction, the Ukrainian,
manager of a tourism company in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm e- Sheikh, had
ordered the weapon from one of the Israeli defendants, the source
The other Israeli, who lived in Eilat, brought the weapon into
Egypt at the border at Taba in a cross-shaped wooden crate.
gun and ammunition were discovered when the crate was placed on an explosives
detection machine. The weapon was the sort used by police in Egypt’s Sinai
Peninsula, investigators said.
The captured Israeli has denied knowing
the contents of the crate, while the Ukrainian said he had ordered the weapon
for personal protection, the court said.
Security along Egypt’s border
with Israel, long a conduit for the smuggling of guns and people, was relaxed
after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak following a popular uprising
in February 2011, as police presence thinned out across Egypt.
has been hit by a number of gas pipeline explosions and cross-border
In June, Egypt arrested an American-Israeli on suspicion he was
trying to recruit agents and monitor events in the uprising that toppled
Mubarak, an ally of Israel and the United States. He was released in October in
a prisoner swap that included the release of 25 Egyptians held in
Egyptian officials say limits on troop numbers in Sinai under the
1979 peace treaty with Israel make it harder to secure the mountainous region.