JERUSALEM – Egypt and Israel have information a large quantity of weapons, including new and sophisticated firepower, was smuggled from Egypt into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in the last two days, according to informed Middle East security officials.
Israeli security officials fear a growing state of anarchy exists along the Gaza-Egypt border, with Islamist groups there taking advantage of the chaos in Egypt amid mass protests threatening the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian security forces have been focused largely on quelling the riots.
“Something big was brought into the Gaza Strip,” said an informed security official.
The official said it was not known yet exactly what was transferred into Gaza, but he speculated it may have been a large quantity of antiaircraft missiles.
Today it was reported Israeli officials let Egypt move several hundred troops into the Sinai Peninsula for the first time since the countries signed a treaty three decades ago.
According to the 1979 peace treaty, Egypt had agreed to leave the area demilitarized.
The Sinai borders the Gaza Strip as well as Israel’s southern border with Egypt.
Israeli officials say Israel agreed to allow the Egyptian army to move two battalions, or about 800 soldiers, into the Sharm el-Sheikh area on Sinai’s southern tip, far from Israel.