Four Egyptian policemen and five Palestinians have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle ammunition and hand grenades into the Gaza Strip, security officials said Saturday.
A local Bedouin was also detained with the group Friday in the northern town of El Arish, on Egypt's Sinai peninsula. The policemen were handing over the weapons to the Palestinians, when Egyptian authorities interrupted the deal and arrested them, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The ammunition was stolen from Egyptian stockpiles, while the grenades were provided by local Bedouin, the officials said. The plan was to smuggle the weapons into Gaza through tunnels or through the Rafah border crossing, the officials added.
Israel pulled out of Gaza last year, turning control of the coastal strip's borders over to Palestinian and Egyptian officials. Since then, Israel has said smuggling of weapons and explosives across the Egypt-Gaza border has increased considerably.