The Egyptian Underground: Rooting Out the Terrorists

(National Review) - Jonathan Schanzer While Egypt may not be directly responsible for the attacks that take place in Gaza, it has indirectly allowed Gaza's terrorists to arm themselves using underground tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Over the last ten years, the Israelis have found 70 or more tunnels originating in Egypt. These tunnels are a crucial supply line of weapons - everything from armor-piercing weapons and automatic rifles to mines and rocket-propelled grenades - for groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The September arrest and subsequent interrogation of a PA security official revealed to Israeli intelligence that the PA had smuggled in eight anti-aircraft missiles through these tunnels that could threaten Israeli helicopters and commercial airliners. One high-ranking Israeli official reports that "in some cases, Egyptian soldiers are directly involved. They receive bribes or other incentives for keeping the tunnels open." Washington should ask the U.S. embassy in Egypt to undertake its own survey work along the Egypt-Gaza border to determine what assistance would be necessary to close the tunnels. If Egypt still does not see the light, a team of multinational forces and observers should be considered. The writer is a Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2003-10-30 00:00:00

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