Egypt seizes 'Gaza-bound weapons'

Authorities arrest three people following discovery of arms caches in Sinai Peninsula.

    The Egyptian government has announced a campaign to clear the Sinai Peninsula of weapons bound for the Gaza Strip

    The Egyptian government has arrested three individuals believed to be involved in the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip following the discovery of four arms caches in the Sinai Peninsula.

    Security forces carried out a series of raids across the peninsula on Sunday in seven different locations.

    They reportedly found about 100 kilograms of TNT, 110 aircraft missiles, artillery shells and hand made grenades.

    The authorities have not released the identity of the people arrested but said the individuals involved have already been tried in absentia for previous acts of smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.

    Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting en route to Rafah on the crossing into Gaza, said: "They were wanted individuals and of significance to the government."

    According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, Israeli sources said the weapons appeared to include Russian-made SA-7 missiles.

    "The missile, commonly known as the Strela, is not generally considered a highly advanced weapon, but its very presence in Gaza could have far-reaching implications for Israeli air mobility over the coastal territory," the newspaper added.

    Sunday's raids are part of a ten-day campaign announced by Egypt's ministry of interior to clear out the Sinai Peninsula of any explosives or arm shipments that are making their way into the Gaza Strip.

    Last month, a string of rockets was fired from the peninsula toward the Israeli resort city Eilat, with one hitting neighbouring Jordan, killing one person and wounding four.

    The Sinai Peninsula, a 60,000 km square area located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, is a strategic geopolitical location.

    It has been invaded twice by Israel, in 1956 and in 1973.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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