Photo: AP
Tunnel on Philadelphi route (archive photo)
Photo: AP
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Israelis in Sinai (archive photo)
Photo: Yaron Brenner

Egypt seizes Palestinian planning to attack Israelis in Sinai

Authorities detain man wearing suicide belt after he enters Egypt through tunnel on Gaza border with plans to blow up Israelis vacationing in resort or village in region

Egyptian police sources said on Wednesday authorities caught a Palestinian man wearing a suicide belt after he entered Egypt through a tunnel on the Gaza border with plans to blow up Israelis in the Sinai region.


The arrest on the Egyptian side of the border town of Rafah on Tuesday led them to two Palestinian accomplices who had rented a flat in the town, they added.


"Under questioning he said that he intended to travel to south Sinai to carry out a suicide bombing at one of the villages or resorts frequented by large numbers of Israelis," added one of the sources, who asked not to be named.


Bombers have attacked south Sinai resorts three times in the past two and half years and the Egyptian police have attributed the attacks to a group of Islamists who are from the Sinai Bedouin community and sympathetic toward the Palestinians.


The first attacks, around Taba near the Israeli border, could have targeted Israeli tourists, who were visiting in large numbers because of a Jewish holiday. But the other attacks hit tourists in general and Egyptians working at the resorts.


Tourists warned of potential attacks

The sources named the two accomplices as Hisham Abu al-Walid and Emad Abu al-Qassam. They did not give the name of the man caught wearing the suicide belt.


Israelis have continued to visit the south Sinai resorts but the Israeli government has warned them from time to time that an attack on them could be under preparation.


On Wednesday Egyptian police found 240 old anti-tank mines and six artillery shells stashed in a secret depot in the mountains of central Sinai, a police source said.


Police suspect the owners planned to empty out the ordnance, left over from 20th century wars, and smuggle the explosive material to Palestinian groups in the neighboring Gaza Strip, added the source, who asked not to be named.


No one was present when police arrived and no arrests have been made, he added.


The Israeli government frequently complains about the smuggling of weapons, ammunition and explosives across the Egypt-Gaza border. Egypt says it does its best to stop it.


Last week police found boxes with around 18,000 bullets hidden in a tunnel near the Egyptian border with the Palestinian territories. Earlier in the month they found rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades hidden in the sand on the same border.


פרסום ראשון: 02.21.07, 15:42
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