EL ARISH: Three Bedouins were arrested early Friday trying to smuggle nearly 200 crates of automatic weapons and ammunition from Egypt into Gaza, police said.Police seized the weapons on a truck in the village of Ballouza, some 100 km east of the Egypt-Gaza border.
The smugglers were heading north to the village of Sheik Zuwayed, where they planned to veer off-road toward the border, north Sinai police Captain Essam Rizk said.
The men confessed to police that they planned to smuggle the weapons to Palestinian fighters through underground tunnels in the border town of Rafah, Rizk said.
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.
The Israeli army launched an offensive into Gaza after the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-linked militants. It broadened its operations there this week, with Israeli troops taking up positions along parts of the Egypt-Gaza frontier for the first time since last year s withdrawal.