Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter complained to White House officials on Wednesday about Egypt's carelessness in dealing with arms smuggling from Sinai into the Gaza Strip.
In talks with National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, Dichter urged Washington to apply pressure on Cairo to do more to seal its border
"The Egyptians can and have to do a lot more to prevent the smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip," Dichter said upon leaving the White House. "The Americans don't know the scope of the smugglings and the Egyptians' capabilities. I believe that the Egyptians have considerable capabilities to make sure that the smugglings are prevented and that's what I said."
Israel has been alarmed by recent intelligence reports pointing to intensified efforts by Palestinian terror groups to smuggle sophisticated weapons to the Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday that the Israel Defense Forces has been instructed to do all to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza.
At least eight tunnels used to smuggle arms were uncovered by the army over the last two days, most of which were dug along the Philadephi route along the Gaza-Egypt border.
Dichter is in Washington for a series of meetings with US officials including FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff with whom he will discuss security cooperation between the two countries.
During discussions of the Iran's disputed nuclear ambitions, Dichter said that world powers should deter Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
"Israel cannot take the haulage. This is not covered and it is likely to turn other countries against us. Israel is preoccupied with the Iranian threat and is building and improving it defense capabilities," Dichter said.
"Israel won't stand by and count the number of missiles fired from Iran. The distance from Iran to Israel is the same as from Israel to Iran and Israel will be able to defend itself," he said.