Israel: Arms Smuggling in Gaza "Is Becoming a Strategic Problem"

[Ha'aretz] Barak Ravid - Egypt could halt the flow of weapons from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza in a single day, Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told UN Middle East envoy Tony Blair on Friday. Senior Israeli political figures said Thursday that in talks with their American counterparts, they stressed that the porous border in Sinai "is becoming a strategic problem" and asked them to raise the issue with the Egyptians. "The smuggling of weapons and terrorist experts from Sinai to the Gaza Strip through the Philadelphi Route poses a real threat to the holding of the Annapolis conference," was their message. "Egypt is working against everything we are all trying to achieve," senior Israeli officials told the Americans. "We are organizing a summit to further the diplomatic process under the banner 'strengthening Abu Mazen' [Mahmoud Abbas], and they are strengthening Hamas." Israeli officials are particularly irate at the clandestine entry of dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants through the border near Rafah, without Egypt's trying to stop them.

2007-10-12 01:00:00

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