Sderot families sue Egypt for Kassams

Plaintiffs allege Egypt assists smuggling in Gaza, demand NIS 260 million in compensation.

MDA sderot kassam  (photo credit: Channel 10 [archive])
MDA sderot kassam
(photo credit: Channel 10 [archive])
Ten Sderot families are suing the Egyptian government for NIS 260 million in damages for family members who were killed or seriously wounded by Kassam rockets fired at the town from the Gaza Strip. The families, represented by attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, hold Egypt responsible for the casualties in a lawsuit filed Monday in Beersheba District Court. They wrote that the transfer of weapons, money and fugitives into Gaza had become an industry "under the patronage and encouragement of Egypt, in full cooperation between the Egyptian armed forces and the terrorist organizations, in which Egypt has granted clear and highly valuable logistical help to the terrorist organizations." As a result of this help, Darshan-Leitner said, the terrorist organizations had smuggled into Gaza hundreds of tons of explosives, tens of thousands of automatic rifles, millions of bullets and other ammunition, hundreds of rockets, including those with a longer range than the rockets produced in the Gaza Strip itself, such as the Grad, which can reach 20 km., rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, hundreds of armor-piercing rockets and dozens of anti-aircraft missiles. Egypt was therefore "directly, deliberately and maliciously responsible for the terrorist attacks and for the harm done to the plaintiffs as a result of these attacks," Darshan-Leitner said. She wrote that since becoming responsible for patrolling the Philadelphi Corridor following Israel's disengagement for the Gaza Strip in 2005, Egypt had provided "free passage" for terrorists across the 12 km.-long corridor that constitutes the border between Sinai and Gaza. As a result, the terrorist organizations have been able to create a military infrastructure, dispatched terrorists into Israel via Sinai and smuggled terrorist experts via the Philadelphi Corridor into Gaza. Darshan-Leitner referred to "conservative estimates" of 28 tons of dynamite having been smuggled from Egypt into Gaza in 2006, compared with six tons in 2005, when the IDF patrolled the border until it withdrew from the Strip late in the year. Fourteen thousand rifles were smuggled into Gaza in 2006, compared with 9,300 the previous year, she said. These figures indicate that what is going on is far more than simple smuggling, wrote Darshan-Leitner. "It involves such complex and huge-scale logistics that it cannot be considered mere smuggling," she wrote, and therefore could not be done without Egyptian complicity.