Report: Egypt Moving Against Gaza Smuggling

[New York Times] Steven Erlanger - The Egyptians, under pressure from the U.S. and Israel, recently changed all the security officers along the Gaza-Egypt border, replacing many of those who had been bought off by smugglers. Muhammad, 37, a smuggler whose father dug one of the first tunnels between Gaza and Egypt in 1984, said Egypt is clearing almost 1,000 feet of houses from the Egyptian side of Rafah, a city cut in two by the border. When Israel cleared Palestinian houses in Rafah to stop smuggling tunnels, there was an international uproar. "Hamas wants to control any arms or explosives that come into Gaza now, it's very simple," he said. "Hamas is cracking down, because they're afraid we'll sell to Fatah." "But there's no business at all now," Muhammad said, except in nitrate, prized both for explosives and fertilizer. "Hamas doesn't ask for money, but for nitrate," he said, taking a third of a shipment. Hamas then sells small amounts to other militant groups, like Islamic Jihad, Muhammad said.

2007-09-19 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive