'Egypt seizes Gaza-bound anti-aircraft missiles in Sinai'

Officials say missiles, launchers were smuggled through Sudan or Libya; seizure comes amid Sinai crackdown against militants, smuggling.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, OREN KESSLER
September 26, 2011 11:33
1 minute read.
Shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles [file]

Shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles (R) 311. (photo credit: Mohamed Azakir / Reuters)

 
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Egyptian security forces said Sunday that they have seized eight anti-aircraft missiles and four shoulder launchers in the Sinai Peninsula, AFP reported.

The weaponry entered Egypt either from Sudan or Libya, the officials said, adding that they were probably destined for the Gaza Strip, according to the report. The smugglers managed to flee before security forces arrived at the location near the Suez canal.

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'Egypt mulling buffer zone on Gaza border'

Late last month, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Egyptian officials were finalizing plans to combat smuggling from the Sinai Peninsula into the Gaza Strip.

Israel Radio reported the same week that Egypt’s army is planning to destroy all tunnels within 14 km. of the border.

High-level Egyptian security sources said that the country was considering establishing a 5-kilometer buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip, and that heavy excavation equipment had been moved to the border in order to destroy smuggling tunnels, according to the Al-Masry Al-Youm report.

Egypt has been in pursuit of elements believed to be connected with acts of sabotage in Sinai, notably, repeated attempts to blow up the pipeline which carries natural gas to both Jordan and Israel. In efforts to restrict the movement of these elements, Egypt has coordinated with Hamas to prevent infiltration across the border in either direction, according to a report in Al-Shorouk last month.

The report added that Egypt has made it clear to Hamas that any Palestinians caught infiltrating into Sinai will be handed over to Egyptian security authorities.

The Egyptian military has reinforced its security along the border with Israel in the aftermath of last month's multi-stage terror attack, emanating from Sinai, in which eight Israelis were killed.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

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