Jewish synagogue in Cairo
Photo: AP
Mohammed Morsi
Photo: AP

Egypt prevents smuggling of Jewish property papers

Arab media outlets report of attempted smuggling operation of documents belonging to Jewish community in Egypt; papers intended to be sent to Jordan en route to Israel; Saudi daily: Mossad behind smuggling attempt

Egyptian media outlets have recently reported that Cairo security forces were able to thwart a smuggling attempt of documents and certificates belonging to the Jewish community in Egypt.


According to the Al-Ahram newspaper, Cairo police seized 13 parcels in large suitcases containing private books and papers belonging to Egyptian Jews. These parcels were intended to be sent to Jordan and from there to Israel.


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A Saudi daily newspaper further quoted an Egyptian security official as saying that the Israeli Mossad was behind the smuggling attempt.


According to a police investigation, there have been intense efforts to catch the owner of these shipments as the name of a woman with French citizenship was found on the parcels.

"המסמכים נמצאו ב-13 מזוודות". מתוך הדיווח ב"אל-אהראם"

'Documents found in 13 parcels'


In addition, it is likely that state officials and a former top official in ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government were involved in the affair.


An arrest warrant was issued against the top official after it was revealed he collected the Jewish documents on behalf of a Lebanese acquaintance.


The acquaintance, known as Rover Halil Sarsak, requested the documents claiming that they are linked to his ancestors.


It was further revealed that a top sports manager from the Giza district was also involved in the operation and was friendly with Sarsak. The sports manager was arrested and transferred to the Egyptian authoroties.


It is not yet clear where the documents were leaked from. One of the detained suspects said that he had received the documents from an antiques shop in the region of Zamalek. The suspect's statement completely contradicts the report submitted by the committee tasked with investigating the affair.


According to the committee's report, the documents are of an archeological nature and therefore cannot be traded.


Based on this claim, Al-Ahram reported that there are only two options regarding the leak's source: The first option is that the documents were leaked by a government official – a fact that endangers Egypt's national security, the paper said.


The second option is that the documents were stolen from the Egyptian Scientific Institute in Cairo while it caught on fire during Egypt's one year anniversary of the revolution.


Meanwhile, Egyptian Deputy Minister of Interior Osama Al-Sarir, has issued special directives intended to increase the efforts used to apprehend the suspects involved in the affair.


Mossad involved? 

Saudi daily newspaper "Ilaf" quoted Sunday an Egyptian security official as saying that the Israeli secret service was behind the attempt to smuggle 2.5 tons of documents and certificates belonging to the Jewish community in Egypt.


The Saudi paper claimed that they have yet to reveal the identity of the "culprits behind the affair," but that a Jewish-Lebanese man and a Jewish woman with French citizenship were behind the smuggling attempt.


According to the paper, the two are linked to the Mossad. Security sources told the paper that a group of security officials, including Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have taken a personal interest into the case and are following it closely.


Sources say that a team of experts from the office of antiquities are reviewing an estimated 1.7 million historic documents in order to find out the leak's source.


According to the team of experts, the documents – dated back to the 19th century – include information on Jews and their property. The paper stated that the purpose of the smuggling attempt was to use the documents against Egypt in order to gain restitution for property that Jews lost when they were forced to flee Egypt.


The documents include business contracts for banks and financial institutions established by Jews in Egypt.


The paper further said that the operation to smuggle the documents was planned over a year ago.


Dr. Mohammed Zin A-Din, a lecturer in modern history at the University of Cairo said that the documents do not prove Jewish ownership of property or assets in Egypt.


According to A-Din, Egyptian Jews sold all of their property before leaving for Israel. He said that the purpose of this ordeal is to create confusion and distract decision makers from important issues.




פרסום ראשון: 10.28.12, 17:14
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