Thursday, August 18, 2011

Egyptian Forces Seize Sinai Weapons Depot


Egyptian security forces said they had seized a mega-factory for manufacturing weapons in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish on Tuesday night.

Explosives, rockets and other weapons were captured, and a suspect was detained at the scene, security officials told Ma'an.

The Egyptian army and police have flooded the peninsula region bordering Israel and Gaza, in an operation termed "Eagle", to clamp down on militants accused of five attacks on a gas pipeline to Israel this year.

An Egyptian police officer was killed at the end of July in a shoot out between forces and gunmen at El-Arish police station.

Six men were detained in El-Arish on Monday, and earlier Tuesday Egyptian forces apprehended four men they said were preparing another attack on the supply line to Israel.

Egyptian security officials told Ma'an that the army located the factory -- believed to be the main site for weapons production by extremists in the Sinai region -- at the western edge of El-Arish city, in a building owned by a known "jihadist", a reference to Islamic militants.

Forces raided the depot Tuesday night, and discovered amongst the projectile and explosive manufacturing equipment, three sacks of gunpowder and of urea, used to create explosives, five bags of TNT explosive, seven anti-aircraft projectiles, three rocket-propelled grenades, and 30 individual and tank mines, the officials said.

A sniper rifle belonging to the officer shot dead at the end of July was also discovered.

The forces detained a man inside the factory for interrogation, and reported that he confessed a colleague had taken the rifle after shooting the officer.

Operation Eagle targets extremists in the sparsely-populated Sinai, and extra force deployment received approval from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following the terms of the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

Attacks on gas pipelines to Israel, and the new regime's pledge to review all preferential supply agreements to the country, have put Israel's energy supplies on edge.

Egypt supplies ag:\israel\politics\blog\hard_nl OUT.txtbout 40 percent of Israel's natural gas, which is used to produce electricity.



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