Egypt indicts Israelis, Ukrainian for smuggling gun

An Egyptian soldier stands guard at the Taba crossing between Egypt and Israel.
CAIRO (Reuters) — Egypt has indicted two Israelis and a Ukrainian for smuggling a machine gun and ammunition across the Israeli border into Egypt, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website on Monday.

The weapon was the sort used by police on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, “which indicates that it could be used for illegal operations that could be pinned on Egyptian security personnel,” the newspaper reported.

Egypt’s border region with Israel, which has long been a conduit for the smuggling of guns and people, has been hit by a number of gas pipeline explosions and cross-border attacks over the past year.

Al-Ahram said the Ukrainian, manager of a tourism company in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, had ordered the weapon from an Israeli, Mamoun al-Alimi.

Another Israeli, Maaz Zuhair Zahlaqa, who lived in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, brought the weapon into Egypt at the border at Taba in a wooden crate shaped like a cross.

The machinegun and ammunition were discovered when the crate was placed on an explosives detection machine, the newspaper said.

The Ukrainian and Zahlaqa were in custody while Alimi was still in Israel, it said.

In June, Egypt arrested an American-Israeli on suspicion he was trying to recruit agents and monitor events in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, an ally of Israel and the United States. He was later released in a swap for 25 Egyptians being held in Israel.

Egyptian officials say limits on troop numbers in Sinai under a 1979 peace treaty with Israel make it harder to secure the mountainous region.

( / 26.12.2011)

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