Egypt busts massive explosive haul heading for Gaza

Photo: Egypt busts massive explosive haul heading for Gaza  / Arab World

Egyptian authorities have seized a record 1 tonne of explosives bound for the Palestinian Gaza Strip, a security official said Sunday, DPA reported.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the explosives were seized when a suspicious-looking lorry was searched at a checkpoint between mainland Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza and Israel.

The shipment was the largest single haul of explosives captured by Egyptian authorities in Sinai, which has been the scene of turmoil in recent months.

Police have seized a total of 5 tonnes of explosives as well as disassembled rockets and automatic weapons in the past three months, according to local media reports.

Egyptian authorities say the weapons are shipped from Libya, which is awash with arms, and smuggled into Gaza by gangs operating in Sinai.

The remote and rugged desert peninsula has suffered from increased security problems since the fall of Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak in February 2011.

In August 2012, the army launched a massive-scale crackdown on Muslim insurgents in Sinai suspected of killing 16 Egyptian soldiers near the border with Gaza.

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