Egypt nabs 15 suspected rocket makers

Shells of 60 projectiles confiscated near Rafah; metal workshop owner, workers, drivers detained.

philadelphi tunnel 248 88 (photo credit: IDF)
philadelphi tunnel 248 88
(photo credit: IDF)
Egyptian security forces detained 15 people on Friday afternoon on suspicion that they helped manufacture rockets destined to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip through tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border, Reuters quoted security sources as saying. The sources said authorities had confiscated the outer shells of 60 projectiles from a metal workshop in Sheikh Zuwayed, a town in the Sinai peninsula located near the Rafah border crossing. The detainees include the owner of the workshop and other workers and drivers who are accused of taking part in a scheme to manufacture rocket parts and send them to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. The IDF fears Hamas could use the tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border to replenish its weapon supply after a significant amount of it was destroyed during Operation Cast Lead in January. For the Palestinian residents of Gaza, approximately 1.5 million, the smuggling tunnels have also become a main source of goods, including fuel, since Israel tightened its embargo on the Strip after Hamas wrested control of it from the forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. Egypt, on its side of the border, also limits movement through the crossings.