EL-ARISH: Egyptian police in the Sinai Peninsula have seized 190 rockets from which the explosives were to have been removed for smuggling into the Gaza Strip, a security official said on Saturday.
The rockets, as well as landmines and 1,500 rounds of ammunition, were found in several caches and date back to Egypt’s wars with Israel, namely the 1967 Six-Day war and the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, the official said.
A security official interviewed by the Associated Press says the weapons included ammunition, anti-tank mines and machine guns.
He spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.
There were no immediate reports of any arrests linked to the find.
According to the security official, smugglers planned to extract explosives from the weapons and sell it to Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
A network of underground tunnels links Egypt with Gaza.
Cairo has stepped up its efforts to close the tunnels, which are mainly used to transport food and other goods into the impoverished Palestinian enclave, under blockade since the Islamist Hamas movement took it over in 2007.
Egypt is building an underground barrier aimed at ending the tunnel trade, after repeated efforts to find and demolish the supply pipelines. Regular Israeli air strikes have also failed to end the thriving business.
Smugglers in Sinai say that most of the tunnels, which are licensed on the Palestinian end by Hamas, are used to smuggle contraband, but that Hamas also operates a few used solely for weapons.